World Cup squad could well be Inzamam’s last task as chief selector

Published May 5, 2019
Sources say the PCB has given Inzamam the option to stay its employee but in a different capacity. — AFP/File
Sources say the PCB has given Inzamam the option to stay its employee but in a different capacity. — AFP/File

LAHORE: Pakistan’s squad for the upcoming limited-overs series against England and the World Cup is possibly the last that the national selection committee, headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq, has picked.

Reliable sources have told Dawn that the former captain has been told by the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) higher management in a meeting that his time is up. However, the PCB has given Inzamam the option to stay its employee but in a different capacity. The chief selector has not responded to the offer yet, it has been learnt.

Inzamam was appointed as head of the national selection committee in 2016 when the PCB was being led by Shaharyar Khan, who was later replaced by Najam Sethi before Ehsan Mani took over the reign as chairman after the country’s general elections in the summer of 2018 which saw cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan become the Prime Minister.

Mani’s selection as the board’s chief has resulted in some major changes being brought in the organisation with the new chairman bringing in people more trusted by him.

However, it is also a hard fact that since Mani’s appointment as chairman nine months ago, the performance of the Pakistan team has been quite unimpressive, particularly in the One-day matches. Pakistan badly failed to keep up its reputation in the Asia Cup held in September where they failed to qualify for the final after losing back-to-back matches to arch-rival India by big margins.

That was followed by Pakistan a drawn series against New Zealand in the UAE and a 2-3 loss to South Africa in South Africa. Soon afterwards, Pakistan lost all five ODIs against Australia in the UAE which was a big setback although Inzamam and co selectors had preferred to give rest to top six players in the series to try out some young guns.

It may be mentioned here that Inzamam and his committee were initially contracted to work until April 30, but with the World Cup looming, the PCB decided to extend the contract until July 31. However, the chances of their further extension are extremely grim.

Triumph at the 2017 Champions Trophy in England remains the biggest achievement for Inzamam and his selection committee. The success came at a time when there were little expectations from the national side who were considered as underdogs in the eight-team tournament.

And if Pakistan does well at the World Cup, PCB will surely be under pressure to reconsider removing Inzamam from his position. It has also been learnt that the team’s head coach Mickey Arthur can also be asked to step down after the showpiece event in England.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2019

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