ISLAMABAD: Senator Mushahidullah Khan has reiterated his stance on the selection of Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal during the T20 series against Sri Lanka played earlier this month and insisted that the two players were inducted into the Pakistan side due to the influence of “upper circle”.

“My criticism on selection of Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal for the T20 matches against second string Sri Lanka was genuine and based on honest assessment,” the senator said on Saturday.

He pointed out that both the players were ignored when Pakistan played against England in May which belied PCB’s claim that the two players earlier performed well in PSL-4 held in February-March were therefore were selected for the SL series. “Why had the PCB Selection Committee ignored Shehzad and Akmal for the England series despite their performance in PSL,” he asked.

The PML-N Senator had alleged last week during Senate Standing Committee meeting that head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq was pressurised by ‘upper circle’ to pick said two players for T20 Series and the decision resulted in shock defeat of the national team.

The senator said that the selection of these players was non-transparent and it was made under pressure exerted from the top.

The senator also raised question over change of the Captain Sarfraz Ahmed, alleging that PCB had replaced Sarfraz with the tried and failed candidate, Azhar Ali. “Pakistan lost to Bangladesh and other smaller teams when Azhar was captain a few years ago nd ultimately he was removed,” he recalled. “Sarfraz captained Pakistan well and kept Pakistan T20 side as number one for the last several months.

The senator said that in removing Sarfraz as captain, there is fallout that Karachi being the biggest nursery of cricket has been met with a discriminate treatment at the hand of PM Imran Khan’s appointed Board of Governors and Ehsan Mani. The senator also raised question over the elections of PCB chairman and said while Mani have a permanent residence permit of UK, CEO Wasim Khan is a British national.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2019