ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has said that there is no need of any replacement for Sarfraz Ahmed as Rizwan is already there to replace him.

Talking to the journalists here on Rawalpindi on Wednesday, Inzamam said Sarfraz’ return to Pakistan was a huge set back to the national team, but sometimes, one had to understand. “Sarfraz’ mother is not well and he has the right to be with his ailing mother. His absence will be felt badly. I have already given the substitute of Sarfraz in shape of M Rizwan, who is already with the national squad. He is a good wicketkeeper and an excellent batsman. Despite being with the national team from England to New Zealand and Australia, he remained unfortunate to be in the playing XI, but I am sure, now he has best time to showcase his talent and justify his selection.”

He also clarified that in case, the team management in Australia demanded Kamran Akmal as Sarfraz’ replacement, he would immediately send Kamran to Australia.

The chief selector termed Salman Butt and M Asif’s performances in domestic cricket as highly laudable. “We are keeping a very close eye on former skipper Salman Butt’s performances and his return to national team would be a great edition as national team needs an experienced opener like him. I am looking at the Salman and Asif affairs closely and monitoring the situation.”

He praised Misbah and termed him excellent skipper. “We will discuss Misbah’s retirement issue upon his return to Pakistan from Australia and will sort out the issue. We must give respect to the players. M Aamir is a great bowler and unfortunately, he failed to live up to the expectations in Australia. Yes, I can understand that the entire nation is highly upset and somewhat disturbed upon green caps’ whitewash in Australia and everybody is raising figures on us after Australia debacle. But the critics must keep in mind, we also managed to inflict whitewash on Aussies in the UAE. The hosts always take benefit of their conditions to the best of their abilities.”

When asked whether he was keeping eyes on the top performers of domestic cricket and whether the shinning players were given opportunity to represent the national team, Inzamam replied: “Off course, we are keeping eyes on different players, who are doing well in the domestic circuit and they will definitely get their due chances. The players should never lose patience and heart, as it is their duty to perform with leather and willow and let the selectors decide. I can assure I will provide justice to each and every individual,” Inzamam concluded.

Meanwhile, the chief selector, under the directives of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Wednesday chaired a meeting of regional coaches to devise strategy to unearth the grassroots talent.

The meeting was also attended by National Cricket Academy (NCA) head coach Mushtaq Ahmed. During the meeting, the extensive role of regional coaches at the national level and a strategy was devised to unearth the grass root talent. Inzamam ul Haq urged the coaches to look for the talented players in all three formats of the game and highlight it before the national selectors.

He emphasised on the coaches to highlight the potential spinners and all-rounders in the regions so they can be invited to NCA to further work on their skills. He urged them to work on players’ fitness and on discipline. He lauded the efforts of regional coaches and expressed to work together to strengthen Pakistan's cricket. The participants expressed their views to bring improvement in players’ skill and gave their valuable inputs to expand the pool of talented players.

Mushtaq Ahmed highlighted the recent talent hunt programmes organised by the NCA in the remote areas. He briefed the participants on the ongoing programmes at the NCA where players from different regions went through extensive practice camps.

It was decided that the meeting with the regional coaches would regularly take place in future to chalk out a strategy to nourish talented players from across the country.