LAHORE: Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq believes Pakistan cricket despite its present woes will rise again at the world stage.
“Yes, currently we are passing through a difficult phase but Pakistan cricket will stage a comeback,” Inzamam said while attending a function as guest of the Sports Journalists Association of Lahore (SJAL) here on Friday.
“From the sub-continent, Pakistan are the only team who [over the years] have won maximum number of matches away from home. During my playing days, wherever I went — Australia, West Indies, New Zealand — fans rated Pakistan high in world cricket,” Inzamam, a member of the 1992 World Cup-winning team, said.
Asked whether he could have proved himself better as national team head coach, instead of chief selector, Inzamam said though he had coached Afghanistan’s national team which gave him valuable experience, the job of team selection was also important.
The chief selector defended the team management’s approach of asking for specific replacements during the tour instead of calling up players of higher profile.
“Everyone knows when I was captain [in a contest away from home] I always had my say in picking the team as I believe that a captain should have more say in team selection. While leading his charges away from home he is in a better position to assess the situation,” he said.
On whether a major overhaul of the national team would be conducted before the West Indies tour, Inzamam elaborated the bigger picture Pakistan cricket is facing, and the change he intends to introduce in his selection criteria.
“Some [critics] are demanding a cleanup operation while on the other hand, others reckon there is not much reliable back-up of players available, so where should I go from here?
“We should learn from the mistakes we committed in New Zealand and Australia [recently],” he said.
“Our team’s grey area is [batsmen’s] strike-rates which are comparatively on the lower side. Therefore, from now onwards I will not only check how many runs a batsman has scored [in domestic circuit] but also his strike-rate which has become very significant in modern cricket, particularly ODI format,” the chief selector underlined.
Commenting on an impression that the PCB was not providing enough support to Misbah amid calls from certain critics for his removal as captain, Inzamam maintained that all senior players deserved respect.
“Everybody can have their own views but I firmly believe that every senior cricketer should be given a respected sendoff. Misbah and all other players have to leave one day, if not today. But whenever they go they should be honoured and the PCB also wants this,” he said.
About the future of Younis Khan, Pakistan’s highest run-getter in Test matches, Inzamam said he would meet the veteran batsman to take his input about his plans.
“Younis is a highly experienced cricketer who has served Pakistan magnificently.”
The senior cricketers should share their retirement plans with the PCB so that the Board could make arrangements for their exemplary send-off, the chief selector added.
Published in Dawn February 4th, 2017