LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday snubbed head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq, Test captain Azhar Ali and veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez during a meeting held here over the revival of departmental cricket and advised them to concentrate on their own jobs instead of focusing on policy-related matters of the PCB.

Dawn learnt through reliable sources that the PM, during the meeting held on the trio’s request at the Prime Minister House, categorically told them that the revamped domestic set up of six provincial teams will stay and is the best solution for Pakistan cricket.

Meanwhile, on the sidelines, there were reports signaling that the PCB is not happy with the trio’s decision of asking for a direct meeting with the prime minister who is also PCB’s patron-in-chief. The PCB will share its concerns on the matter with the three cricketers in the near future as it believes they have breached the chain of command by directly holding a meeting with the prime minister.

In addition to the trio of senior cricketers, the Prime Minister House had also invited PCB chairman Ehsan Mani and chief executive Wasim Khan for the said meeting.

Sources told Dawn Imran said he had no doubt about the positive role played by departmental cricket in the past but underlined it was not the case any more, noting that most of the contemporary cricketers representing departments were around 40 years of age, a scenario that was not too rosy for Pakistan cricket.

The prime minister, sources added, also asked Misbah that being the head coach-cum-chief selector, he should focus on his job to pick quality players and coach them in the best possible way instead of paying his attention on PCB’s policy matters.

Similarly, the premier on the occasion also asked Azhar to concentrate on making Pakistan the top team in Tests and the same message was conveyed to Hafeez.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2020