The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in a surprising move, has relieved Intikhab Alam of his duties as the national team’s manager for the tour of Zimbabwe and appointed Naveed Akram Cheema as his replacement.
Alam, a former Test cricketer who was termed a long-term manager following the International Cricket Council’s Task Team recommendation, has been replaced by another PCB governing board member with the PCB refusing to share reasons behind the change.
Alam was appointed manager after Pakistan’s tour of England was marred by the spot-fixing scandal and was the team coach on the disastrous, winless tour of Australia in 2009-10 as well as the 2009 World Twenty20. His omission comes as surprise given he was part of the team on recent international assignments including the World Cup as well as the tours of New Zealand, West Indies and Ireland.
“The PCB confirms that Alam is not being retained as manager,” a PCB official told The Express Tribune. “The board has selected Akram as the manager for the Zimbabwe series,” he said, before adding it was the PCB’s policy to appoint team management on a series-by-series basis.
The official hinted that the decision was also made to reduce Alam’s workload, who is also working on various PCB plans regarding development of cricket besides leading the National Cricket Academy (NCA).
‘The other side of the story’
Meanwhile, another official said that Alam’s increasing unpopularity in the dressing room led to the decision.
“Players, especially the seniors, were not happy with him,” said the official. “Many have lodged complaints about Alam’s diplomatic style of working and that was also a factor behind his omission.”
Former captain Shahid Afridi, who announced his retirement from international cricket after developing serious differences with the PCB, had termed Alam a hypocrite after the board took action against the all-rounder based on his report on the West Indies tour.
Recently discarded all-rounder Abdul Razzaq had also accused a lobby of conspiring against him and other senior players and sidelining him to save their own jobs.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2011.