LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday formed a three-member independent panel of experts to review and finalized the six provincial cricket associations’ squads which will feature in the revamped domestic season that starts from Sept 12 with the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy.
The panel includes former Pakistan captains Misbah-ul-Haq and Rashid Latif along with ex-Test spinner Nadeem Khan, according to a PCB media release.
It may be mentioned that Misbah has already been appointed as camp-commandant of the pre-season Pakistan camp and now gets another role to finalize the provincial squads. The PCB domestic department with the expertise of former members of the selection committee and current members of the national junior selection committee had already finalized the provincial squads but the independent panel will review their selections before giving a final shape to those teams.
It may be mentioned that reports are emerging that the PCB would adopt a new model of future Pakistan team selection from three modes which are currently under consideration. The topmost scenario which has emerged is that Misbah is tipped to become the chief selector-cum-head coach of the national side.
The new system at the domestic level will see Sindh, Central Punjab, South Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Northern Areas competing instead of the defunct formula of previous seasons when as many as 16 teams — eight regions and as many departments — playing first-class cricket.
The PCB media release further stated: “The three-member panel [comprising Misbah-ul-Haq, Nadeem Khan and Rashid Latif] will meet at the Gaddafi Stadium on Thursday after which the six teams will be announced next week with details to follow in due course.
“The provisional sides were prepared by Tauseef Ahmed, Wajahatullah Wasti, Wasim Haider [members of the ex-national selection committee], Saleem Jaffer, Arshad Khan, Rao Iftikhar, Taufeeq Umar [members of junior selection committee], Akram Raza, Azam Khan, Ijaz Ahmed Jr and Raj Hans, who had taken into consideration the performances of the players in the previous season and their future prospects.
“The independent panel will finalise 32 players for each association — who will be offered domestic contracts by the PCB for a 12-month period — and recommend names of the captains for the first and second XIs.”
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan, whose post has been changed from that of Managing Director after the implementation of the amended PCB constitution said: “The PCB has constituted a panel of highly respected cricketers to assess and review the balance, composition and strength of the six sides to ensure there remain no gaps. The knowledge, expertise and experience of these three cricketers with regards to domestic cricket is second to none as they are actively involved in the process in one way or another.
“With the void of a current national selection committee, the PCB drew on the knowledge of former national selectors, the current junior selection committee and coaches to select the provisional squads.
“To ensure we are ready for the start of the new season in September, this initial process was required to ensure we keep moving forward positively in the interim period until the cricket associations are fully operational and functional.
“Bringing in an expert independent three-member panel to critique and sense check the provisional player lists will support our ongoing pledge to remove any claims of nepotism or favoritism through a merit based and transparent process.
“I want to thank all members for their hard work in putting together provisional squads and confident that the critical and objective review by the independent experts will further enhance and strengthen the integrity and credibility of the teams, the PCB and its domestic events.”
Meanwhile, Rashid Latif said: “I am thankful to the PCB for considering me for this important assignment and look forward to making a meaningful contribution in consultation with my other respected colleagues.
“We all need to see a highly competitive and strong domestic cricket structure, in which there should be cut-throat competition. This is the only way we will be able to narrow the gap with international cricket and, in this relation, selection of players and team combinations is a critical element to that objective.
“Pakistan boasts some very exciting and talented cricketers and we will try our best to provide a good and equal balance across all sides so that every match counts and each performance is valued.”
The forthcoming season will run from Sept 12 to April 24.
Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2019