Pakistan’s cricket selection committee, working without a chief selector on a ‘day-to-day basis’, is reportedly experiencing differences with the team management.
According to an official close to the selection committee, Test and One-Day International (ODI) captain Misbahul Haq was at odds with the selection committee over the choice of Imran Farhat for the two Test matches in the upcoming tour of Zimbabwe.
The official elaborated that the captain was not happy with the performance of the left-handed opener, who failed miserably in the Champions Trophy, scoring only two runs each against the West Indies and South Africa before being dropped for the last match.
“Misbah strongly opposed Farhat’s inclusion,” the official told The Express Tribune. “He wanted to retain Taufeeq Umar in the Test squad because he was disappointed with Farhat’s performance.
“The skipper stressed that Taufeeq was more reliable as an opener in Tests on the basis of his performance in the previous season .”
Taufeeq was the first choice for the Test series against South Africa earlier this year. However, he returned without playing a match after suffering an injury and was replaced by Farhat who scored 73 (30 and 43) in Centurion in his only Test opportunity against Proteas on that tour. Taufeeq, on the other hand, managed just a half-century in the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka last year.
“Taufeeq has been struggling for a while in Tests as well as at domestic level.
“Meanwhile, Farhat has shown a better performance than Taufeeq in domestic cricket. He also scored a triple century in the last domestic season. That is why the selectors have given him a chance in Tests. He may have failed in the ODIs but the selectors felt they have no grounds to drop the opener in Tests.”
Farhat’s selection has often been branded a case of nepotism because of his close relationship with former Test cricketer and chief selector Mohammad Ilyas. But the opening batsman has dismissed the notion, saying he always made his place the national team on merit.
The left-hander started his career in 2001 but never cemented his place in the team; he has played in just 53 ODIs and 40 Tests.
Team to train in post-eid camp
After celebrating Eidul Fitr, the national players will assemble on August 12 in Lahore for a short conditioning camp from the following day for the tour of Zimbabwe.
According to a team official, no extensive training sessions were planned for the five-day camp that will be missed by Misbah, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shahzad, who will join the team directly in Zimbabwe due to their ongoing commitment with the Caribbean league.
“There will be normal training sessions,” said the official. “Most of the players are already in rhythm due to their participation in Ramazan events.”
The Pakistan team is scheduled to depart for Zimbabwe on August 19 for three ODIs, two Tests and as many Twenty20 games.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2013.
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