LAHORE: Pakistan cricket, amid the World Cup where the national team have struggled badly, experienced a major shock on Monday when chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq resigned in the wake of of conflict of interest allegations associating the former captain with a player agency.

Some media reports, a couple of days ago, had disclosed Inzamam’s association with a player agency registered in England.

The news of the resignation was aired early evening on Monday when Inzamam arrived at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) office in Lahore to meet chairman Zaka Ashraf in a last-ditch effort to clear his position.

However, the meeting could not be held perhaps because the PCB chief was busy, and Inzamam left after tendering his resignation. Zaka was seen leaving the PCB offices late in the evening.

PCB forms committee to probe conflict of interest allegations

Later talking to media, Inzamam said that he had received a telephonic call on Monday morning from the PCB informing him that the Board was forming a committee to investigate the allegations of his association with a player agency that reflects conflict of interest in team selection.

Meanwhile, the PCB, which is already under fire due to national team’s pathetic performance at the ongoing ICC World Cup in India, issued a press release in this regard.

“The PCB has set up a five-member fact-finding committee to investigate allegations in respect of conflict of interest reported in the media pertaining to the team selection process,” read the PCB press release issued on Monday.

“The committee will submit its report and any recommendations to the PCB Management in an expeditious manner,” it concluded, without giving the names of members of the committee.

Inzamam, later in the day, said that it would be better for him to disassociate from the post of chief selector to give full liberty to the investigation committee to do its work.

Inzamam, who worked as chief selector in the past also, was quoted as saying in the PCB press release, “I am stepping down from the post to offer the PCB the opportunity to conduct a transparent inquiry about the conflict of interest allegations raised in the media. If the committee finds me not guilty, I will resume my role as the chief selector.”

The release added, “The PCB appreciates and acknowledges Inzamam’s decision to voluntarily step down during this investigation.”

Though Inzamam later on Monday, claimed on electronic media that he had no connection with any players’ agent company, a document available to media says a company named Yazoo International Ltd is registered in England with the mailing address of 93 Nicholsons Grove, Colchester, England Co1 1SP., having a name of Intisar-ul-Haq, who is said to be a close relative of Inzamam, as company secretary; Inzamam as Company Director-1 and Pakistan wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan as Company Director-2.

For a national chief selector any role in the said company — working in the field as players agent — reflects a conflict of interest.

Inzamam, who was appointed as chief selector by the Zaka-led PCB Interim Management Committee in August this year, has faced intense criticism from all quarters concerned over national team’s pathetic performance in the Asia Cup (August-September) and the ongoing World Cup where Babar Azam and his men have lost four matches out of six, and are in real danger of missing the semi-finals.

The four-month tenure of Zaka, who assumed charge as interim PCB chief on July 6 this year in place of Najam Sethi, is going to end in six days. Therefore, completing the investigation on the conflict of interest allegations in such short time seems a massive and cumbersome task for the committee.

Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2023

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