KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board will have to start their hunt for a fielding coach afresh after Darren Berry withdrew his interest in the role due to personal and professional reasons. Berry, who played 153 first-class matches in Australia from 1989 to 2004, had been in talks with the PCB for more than a month.
Pakistan were looking for a replacement for Steve Rixon, the previous fielding coach who chose not to renew his contract after it expired in June. Berry had emerged as a leading candidate for the post after being endorsed by head coach Mickey Arthur, and official talks between the PCB and Berry began in the third week of June.
It is understood Berry was originally due to join the Pakistan team on their tour of Zimbabwe in July, but that was delayed because the PCB’s official procedures took time. The date of Berry’s joining was then pushed to August 25, with the Asia Cup in September set to be his first assignment with the Pakistan team.
On the understanding that everything in his contract was principally agreed on save a few minor tweaks, Berry had let go of a coaching job in the Global T20 Canada. But when faced with more unusual delays from the PCB, he decided to pull out of the discussions. While he won’t be taking up the Pakistan job, Berry has renewed his ties with Islamabad United for the next PSL season, and also retains his Bangladesh Premier League contract.
“I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity presented by Micky Arthur and PCB,” Berry told ESPNcricinfo. “After healthy discussions between the PCB and myself, I have decided that at this point in time with a young family (Berry has three children) that full-time international travel was a bridge too far right now. I will continue to work with Islamabad United in the PSL and will keep an open mind in relation to international coaching opportunities in the future.”
Rixon, 64, had his last working day with Pakistan on June 13, when they beat Scotland by 84 runs to seal a two-match T20I series 2-0. Since that game, Pakistan have been without a fielding coach. The PCB did confirm that they have been in talks with Berry and that he was on the verge of being selected for the role, but the deal wasn’t penned down formally. “(There was) no delay,” a PCB official said. “Steve Rixon was contracted to us till end June. We gave an ad that had a deadline of June 27 to hire new coach. After that we were negotiating terms and everything was agreed until he withdrew for personal reasons, but on good terms with PCB.”
Berry, a respected name in cricket coaching, had spent four years with South Australia until 2015 and guided them to the 2010-11 Big Bash title, the last before the BBL became a franchise tournament. His luck was different in first-class cricket with the Redbacks finishing last in three out of four seasons.