LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in a sudden move, has decided to appoint former Test captain Inzamam-ul-Haq as the new national chief selector which came as a complete surprise to many since the names of former players Iqbal Qasim, Mohsin Khan and Rashid Latif have been taking rounds in the cricketing circles for almost a week or so for the coveted post.
Inzamam, who is currently serving as batting coach with the Afghanistan cricket team, will hold a quick meeting with their officials to end his coaching contract and is likely to join the PCB in the next couple of days, most probably before the start of the Pakistan Cup which commences in Faisalabad from April 19.
All indicators of this out-of-the-blue development go out to show that the decision to appoint Inzamam as chief selector was taken, perhaps, in the political corridors of power.
His meeting with PCB chairman Shaharyar M Khan the other day was hastily arranged and the inside sources said PCB pledged to give Inzamam full powers and a free hand as chairman of selectors.
Well informed sources told Dawn that Inzamam will pick up the members of the selection committee very soon too.
Sources further said that while the PCB had clearly been instructed by the patron-in-chief not to make any appointments without his approval, Inzamam’s name was forwarded directly from the Prime Minister House which quickly quashed all rumours about other candidates in run for the post.
Sources further said the PCB had also got the approval for former Test all-rounder Mudassar Nazar from the Prime Minister House for his appointment as Director National Cricket Academy (NCA). He is most likely to take up the assignment from May 1.
Inzamam led Pakistan in 31 Test matches, winning 11 and losing 11 while nine ended in draw. The burly player also led Pakistan in 87 ODIs with 51 wins and 33 losses while three matches ended with no result. However, his tenure as skipper was one of the most controversial in Pakistan history due to a number of nasty incidents that dented Pakistan cricket in a big way.
His refusal to continue with a Test match against England at The Oval, eventually saw the first ever forfeiture in Test history following Pakistan’s protest over debatable umpiring decisions from Darrell Hair who imposed a five-run penalty on Inzamam’s team for their alleged involvement in ball-tampering.
Coincidentally, Shaharyar was also the PCB chairman at the time and was furious as Inzamam refused to take his advice or team manager Zaheer Abbas’ to resume the match instead of staging a boycott. The forfeiture incident triggered the removal of Shaharyar from the PCB and he was replaced by President Gen Pervaiz Musharraf’s close aide, Dr Nasim Ashraf.
Another blot on Inzamam’s career is the shambolic performance of Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies where the national team was stunned by minnows Ireland in the first round to crash out of the event. That to date remains Pakistan’s worst ever performance in a World Cup.
The fiasco resulted in the shock demise of Pakistan’s foreign coach Bob Woolmer in mysterious circumstances which led to a long-winding inquiry before the cause of his death was determined as ‘natural’.
Later the PCB formed a fact finding committee under Test batsman Ijaz Butt to probe the reasons behind the shameful World Cup defeat.
Butt in his findings, found skipper Inzamam as chiefly responsible for the disastrous campaign in the West Indies since the burly batsman, exercising dictatorial powers, bypassed then chief selector Wasim Bari on several occasions to include players of his choice that led to the embarrassing flop at the World Cup.
The end to Inzamam’s career was no less dramatic. Despite being a world class batsman, he fell six runs short of the meagre twenty he required to eclipse Javed Miandad’s record of most Test runs by a Pakistani, which indeed raised quite a few eyebrows at the time. Inzamam had also allegedly demanded Rs10 million for announcing his retirement prior to the Test.(Dawn)