Sarfraz Nawaz, Iqbal question logic behind resting top cricketers

Updated March 29, 2019

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Pakistan on Wednesday conceded the series to Aussies by losing the first three of the five ODIs which were all lop-sided contests. — AFP/File
Pakistan on Wednesday conceded the series to Aussies by losing the first three of the five ODIs which were all lop-sided contests. — AFP/File

LAHORE: Former Test fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz as well as member of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Sports Iqbal Mohammad Ali have slam­med the policy of the Pakis­tan Cricket Board (PCB) and national selectors to rest top Pakistani cricketers for the tough One-day series against Australia and added that the series could have served as ideal preparation for the upcoming World Cup.

Pakistan on Wednesday conceded the series to Aussies by losing the first three of the five ODIs which were all lop-sided contests, mainly due to the absences of six of the leading national team players including skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, Babar Azam and others.

Talking to Dawn from London, formr pacer Sarfraz lamented the recent absurd steps taken by the PCB, including resting top players, which he said could destroy the country’s cricket.

“Win or loss does not matter, the first thing for the selectors is to field the best team and no one can justify the policy of resting the key players, especially when the World Cup is barely two months away,” said Sarfraz. “I don’t believe the PSL’s T20 matches were any serious activity which could cause fatigue to the players. “The PSL was just a cakewalk for the players and could not have been tiresome for them. So this ‘rest’ logic is beyond me really.”

Sarfraz also criticised the appointment of tainted Salman Butt as captain of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa team for the Pakistan Cup which is commencing in Rawalpindi from April 2.

He urged prime minister Imran Khan to look into the mattter as to why PCB is trying to promote tainted cricketers.

Sarfraz said PCB chairman Ehsan Mani should be asked why he had hired people on hefty salaries. He argued that when the Punjab government raised the salaries of its MPAs, Imran took instant action to stop the raise but the PM has failed to check what is going on in the PCB under his own nose.

Meanwhile, Iqbal, who has been a member of the standing committee on sports for the last 15 years, echoed Sarfraz’s views and said the people who need rest are chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq and head coach Mickey Arthur who have failed to deliver and not to the players.

Iqbal said while the other teams of the world were playing with full strength, the selectors in Pakistan were giving rest to the players. He said it seemed there was no one to have a check on the cricketing affairs.

Iqbal was also critical of the PCB for not presenting any inspiring new domestic cricket structure to PM Imran in its Wednesday’s meeting in Islamabad.

“Who selected Haroon Rasheed to give the presentation to the prime minister?” he questioned. “These are the same people who have their role in ruining cricket.”

Iqbal also pointed out that the report of Ehsan Mani’s task force, which was made by Prime Minister to oversee 40 sports disciplines in the country, was yet to be announced and the delay was consequently affecting the release of grants to the national sports federations for 2018-19. “Many national sports federations have already submitted the audited accounts of the previous grants but even they are waiting as the activities of almost all the national sports federations are at a standstill,” he regretted.

He said the standing committee would ask federal sports minister Fehmida Mirza and officials of the IPC and Ehsan Mani to come and discuss the current situation of sports in the country.

Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2019