ISLAMABAD: Senator Mushahidullah Khan on Wednesday alleged that national team’s head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq was pressurised by high office to accommodate Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal in the playing eleven against Sri Lanka in recently-concluded T20 series at home.

The Senate Standing Committee on Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC), which met here at Parliament House with Senator Yaqoob Khan Nasir in the chair, criticised the Pakistan Cricket Board over the dismal performance of cricket team against the fourth-tier Sri Lankan team, which outclassed Pakistan, the top-ranked T20 team of the world, in all three matches.

During the course of the meeting, PML-N Senator Mushahidullah raised questions over the selection of discarded batsmen Shehzad and Umar, both of whom could not perform in both T20 matches they played.

The senator alleged that these players were made part of the playing eleven on “sifarish”. After the committee meeting, while explaining his allegations, Senator Mushahidullah said that he came to know that head coach Misbah was not willing to consider the duo for selection but he was pressurised by “upper circles” high office that resulted in the defeat of national team against a depleted Sri Lanka.

He said that Misbah should not have entertained the ‘sifarish’ but the head coach had no other option but to resign. “Misbah preferred to save his job but the team lost,” he lamented and, in an obvious reference to PM Imran Khan, said that a man who claimed he is Ph.D in cricket is responsible for the national team’s poor performance.

To query about unemployment among the cricketers [because of the closure of department cricket], Mushahidullah said: “What to talk about unemployment of cricketers here, there’s unemployment all around.”

He added that Misbah is otherwise an honest person and his selection as coach was justified.

Earlier, the Standing Committee deferred discussion on matters relating to the Pakistan Cricket Board due to absence of PCB chairman at the forum and decided that a comprehensive briefing will soon be taken from Ehsan Mani regarding the shocking defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in the T20 series.

The matters of poor quality broadcasting of local and international matches by PTV will also come under discussion in the next meeting among other related issues.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Yaqoob Khan Nasir here at the Parliament House and was attended, among others, by Senators Abida Muhammad Azim, Azam Khan Swati, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Faisal Javed, Mushahidullah Khan, Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination Dr. Fehmida Mirza, Secretary Inter-Provincial Coordination Akhter Durrani, Director Domestic cricket PCB Haroon Rasheed and officials from ministry and relevant government departments.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2019