KARACHI - The war of words between Rashid Latif and the PCB has intensified after the former skipper claimed that reports were true about him not being pushed to take up the chief selector's job were influenced by pressure exerted by the England and Wales Cricket Board on the Board. Latif said it was 99 per cent true that he was given the cold shoulder as the PCB didn't want to upset the ECB.
A report two days back claimed that the ECB was not happy with the news of the PCB offering chief selector's job to Latif because it reckoned the former wicketkeeper-batsman had been blunt in supporting Test leg spinner, Danish Kaneria on the subject of the life ban imposed on the bowler by the ECB in a fixing scam. On Tuesday, the PCB issued a rebuttal which stated that the report was not true.
"The fact of the matter is that at no stage did ECB, or any of its officials, comment formally or informally on Rashid Latif's appointment as Chief Selector," the PCB clarified. "PCB chairman Najam Sethi took the decision to appoint Rashid Latif on merit, despite being aware of the fact of his sympathies in the Danish Kaneria case. Indeed, it is a measure of PCB's independent thinking in the interest of Pakistan cricket that it chose to nominate Rashid Latif. Unfortunately, Rashid Latif did not reciprocate the sentiment and pulled out consciously and let PCB down," it said.
Latif, however, stated that he was witness to a meeting held on 26/2/14 at the Chairman's office in Gaddafi Stadium in which the Chairman (Sethi) told him 'you are a great supporter of Danish Kaneria'. "Chairman PCB told me 'you are great supporter of Danish Kaneria and ECB have reservations on this, that's why PCB may have problems with ECB if you take over head of anti corruption of PCB'," said Latif. "I had gone to meet with the Chairman not for the chief selector's position but to tell him I wanted to head the anti-corruption unit of the PCB and that is when he told me this," he recalled.
Latif said that chief operating officer, Subhan Ahmad was also present during the meeting and he also agreed with the PCB chairman. "My priority was for the anti-corruption job not chief selector's post and I was surprised at what the Chairman had told me about ECB," Rashid said. Latif said he was only fighting to get justice for Kaneria because he felt strongly that PCB and ECB might have wrongly banned him. He also said he didn't think it was fair that on one hand the PCB was pleading the case of a convicted player, M Aamir against whom undeniable evidence was found of spot fixing and not taking up Kaneria's case with the ECB, even though there was only circumstantial and debatable evidence made against him.