Pakistan national selection committee head Inzamamul Haq on Friday trolled a reporter when asked a detailed question regarding left-handed batsman Salman Butt’s return to the national team.
Inzamam was speaking during a visit to the Sports Journalists’ Association of Lahore when he was told by a reporter that Salman’s performance in the domestic season was good and made him eligible for selection. The reporter added that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan has also given a go ahead to the batsman for selection in the national.
After listening to the question and all the details, Inzamam said with a poker face: “You are right! You’ve answered your question yourself.”
The room filled with laughter soon but Inzamam, however, presented a clarification on Salman’s case.
“When you are out for five years, you need to make a comeback by playing a complete season of domestic cricket,” he said. “I would like to present the example of [off-spinner Saeed] Ajmal. When he came back after remodelling his action, we rushed him into the national team. I think that was very early. He should have played in the domestic circuit for six months at least.”
On Kamran Akmal
Wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal recently said that he is ready to give up his gloves to play as a specialist batsman in Pakistan team, however, Inzamam thinks he doesn’t fit in the current combination due the presence of T20I captain Sarfraz Ahmed.
“There was a time when Moeen [Khan] and Rashid [Latif] used to play together. Both of them were good players but we could only opt for one in the team,” said Inzamam. “Sarfraz is performing really well. Kamran is also performing outstandingly in the domestic circuit; there is no doubt about that. But, unfortunately, we do not have space for him in the national team right now.”
He continued: “There are times when someone is performing and the team needs that kind of a player so he gets a chance immediately. So, luck also plays an important role in a cricketer’s career. Everything is not in the hands of the selectors.”
On PCB's round-table conference
The 46-year-old, who will be co-chairing the round-table conference which will be hosted by the PCB in Lahore on March 6 and 7, termed the meeting a good step forward.
“In the meeting we will take suggestions from former cricketers on how we can improve our teams’ performance,” said Inzamam. “We will ask them to help us understand how we can bring our cricket to terms with international standards. It’s a good thing.”
Camp for domestic performers
Former Pakistan cricketers have on more than one occasion talked about decreasing the gap between domestic and international standards of the game and Inzamam says he has a plan for that.
“We have kept an eye on domestic performers. And as everyone suggests that we need to decrease the gap between domestic and international cricket; hence, the selection committee in coordination with academy coaches has decided to call the best 20-22 performers from the domestic circuit into our academy. We will work on their fitness and rectify their technical problems in the academy.”