Pakistan captain Babar Azam wanted four players to be the part of the national team squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup but incoming Pakistan Cricket Board chairperson Ramiz Raja replaced them, sources have revealed.
Ramiz thought Babar’s choices — openers Sharjeel Khan and
Fakhar Zaman, all-rounder Faheem Ashraf and leg-spinner Usman Qadir — were not
good enough to be in the Pakistan roster for the mega event.
He replaced them with middle-order batsmen Asif Ali,
Khushdil Shah, Azam Khan and Sohaib Maqsood in the skipper’s squad list.
“Even if one of them performs well, Pakistan will win the World Cup,”
he told Babar in a conversation which took place the National High Performance
Centre in Lahore few days ago, according to the SAMAA TV sources. “This is
the best squad,” added the former Pakistan opener.
The tweaks by Ramiz have left the captain unhappy and he has
expressed it to his teammates.
Chief Selector Wasim Khan announced the Pakistan squad for
the T20 World Cup on Monday. The squad will also play the upcoming Twenty-20
International series against New Zealand and England.
Another development that took place hours after the squad
announcement was the resignations of Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and
bowling coach Waqar Younis.
SAMAA TV sources revealed the duo took the decision to step down after Ramiz had a conversation with Waqar in which he told the latter about his plans to replace him and Misbah when he assumes the PCB chairperson charge.
Waqar, sources said, consulted with Misbah and both decided to
resign to avoid an eventual sacking.
Former cricketers Abdul Razzaq and Saqlain Mushtaq have been
appointed as the interim coaches for the New Zealand series.
The T20 World Cup is set to be held from October 17 to
November 14 in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
Before that, Pakistan will play New Zealand in three One-day
Internationals and five T20Is in Lahore from September 17 to October 3.
Pakistan will host England in Rawalpindi for two T20Is on
October 13 and 14.
The squad being announced more than a month before the T20 World Cup can also mean there are chances some changes will be made before the national side flies to the UAE.
Ramiz was nominated by Prime Minister Imran Khan as one of the members of the PCB Board of Governors recently. The premier is the patron of the country’s cricket governing body.
The PCB elections will be held on September 13, in which the BoG members will elect its chairperson. Historically, the patron’s nomination has always ended up being elected for the position.