Butt 'duty-bound' to back coach Lawson

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Lahore, Oct 24 (UNI) Clearing his earlier stance, Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ijaz Butt said he bears no grudge against coach Geoff Lawson and the board will continue to support him through the rest of his contract period.

''As the PCB chairman, I am duty-bound to fully back Lawson and take care of all his liabilities,'' Butt told reporters.

''What I said in the press conference was my personal opinion which I had also given to the then chairman Nasim Ashraf.'' Butt added that Lawson would be given whatever support was needed to help him improve Pakistan's performances on field.

In his first press conference as chairman, Butt had given an unusually harsh assessment of Lawson's tenure as coach, concluding that Pakistan had ''no utility for him''.

He also said his contract would not be renewed once it was over.

While speaking to Cricinfo, Lawson revealed that there had been no contact with Butt since he took over. But it is believed that a message has been passed on to Lawson through a third party that there ''may have been some misunderstanding'' over the initial comments made by Butt.

Lawson has also received unexpected backing from former Pakistan captains Imran Khan and Javed Miandad. Both felt it was unfair to blame Lawson entirely for Pakistan's inconsistent performances since he took over last August.

''How can you blame the coach for Pakistan cricket's ills when your domestic structure is stagnant,'' Imran told reporters.

''Don't expect miracles from the coach.'' Miandad, who had three stints as coach, felt the players should also shoulder the blame. ''It is not just an issue of coaching,'' Miandad said. ''Lawson should not be blamed solely. The players should also take responsibility and I think they should be held accountable as well.'' UNI XC CS PY ATI HT1150

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