KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in yet another brainless act, has included an over-age, underperforming player for the ACC U19 Asia Cup, leaving out the season’s highest wicket-taker for the regional event scheduled to take off in Malaysia from June 21.
With the central contract blunder still fresh, the board named the 20-year-old Shahid Ilyas in the squad despite medical tests, conducted by the PCB itself in February, confirming that the individual was overage. Muhammad Nawaz, who went onto perform outstandingly in the series, was named his replacement but now the new selection committee, led by Iqbal Qasim, has named Ilyas in the under19 squad again.
“Ilyas challenged the PCB’s decision following his withdrawal earlier in the court and he won,” a member of the selection committee told The Express Tribune. “The board then gave us a green signal to select him and we did that.”
Worryingly, the PCB’s official website still lists Ilyas as a 20-year-old.
Meanwhile, Jaahid Shoukat Ali was another surprise inclusion in the squad, preferred over deserving and better performing players. Jaahid scored 556 runs in the PCB U19 three and one-day events while but Karachi Blues’ Ahsan Ali (743 runs), who represented Pakistan in the last World Cup, and Wapda’s Mohammad Mohsin (853 runs) were snubbed.
“Jaahid has been selected so that he could be groomed,” said a selector.
Fawad Khan, who was the best bowler in both events with 54 wickets, has also been overlooked. Sabih Azhar will be the team coach while Haroon Rasheed will serve as manager.
The selection committee was also not happy with Azhar, who sent congratulatory text messages to players confirming their names despite the team not being officially announced at that time.
Babar Azam (c), Sami Aslam, Imamul Haq, Umar Waheed, Azizullah, Mir Hamza, Ehsan Adil, Salman Afridi (wk), Muhammad Nawaz, Syed Faraz Ali, Akhtar Waheed Kiyani, Muhammad Ziaul Haq, Shahid Ilyas, Usman Qadir, Syed Saad Ali and Jaahid Shoukat Ali
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2012.
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