ISLAMABAD -

Pakistan cricket team dismal performance in the last edition of the Champions Trophy exposed all the tall claims made by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and proved the fears, which were raised regarding the poor selection of the team, absolutely right.

When this scribe contacted chief selector Iqbal Qasim to seek his point of view regarding the team's poor performance, he defended his selection and termed it the failure of captain and coach who failed to handle things properly. “I wanted to include Shahid Afridi in the squad as he is a big match player and a complete all-rounder despite the fact that he has not been performing well for the last one year and so, but still he could have bounced back and could have played a key role in Pakistan team’s success.”

“On Misbah's strong reservations, we have to go with the skipper and dropped Afridi, as Misbah was in favour of including Umer Amin who could also bowl well. If Umer was not utilized as a bowler then it was the team management who had to answer this question, as it was the captain and coach who decided to whom they should have picked or dropped.

To another query regarding selection of Imran Farhat, Qasim replied: “Farhat performed well in South Africa, so how could I drop him. If he did not perform well in England, then captain is now free to replace him with any other better player.”

The chief selector said the team was selected purely on merit. “It is the coach who makes strategy and binds the team. In my opinion, the team was not handled properly that is the main reason behind the team's poor showing in the Champions Trophy,” Qasim concluded.

When this scribe contacted former chief selector and coach Mohsin Hassan Khan to seek his point of view, he said: “Coach is mainly responsible for chalking out a comprehensive game plan and positive approach, but there was hardly any game plan and team lacked players at No 7, 8 and 9. There was also no genuine all-rounder in the team who might score runs and that too at a brisk pace.”

“In my opinion Ahmed Shahzad, Shahid Afridi, Hammad Azam and Aizaz Cheema should be included in the touring party. Sohail Tanveer is also a complete all-rounder and if he was fit, then he should have been included in the team,” he added.

Sharing his views, former Test player and inventor of reverse swing Sarfaraz Nawaz lashed out at the selectors and said the poor selection was the main reason behind Pakistan defeats.

“What is the reason of including Shoaib Malik, who had not even scored a half century for the past three years, the reason was quite simple that he was very close to Misbah, that's why he managed to get a place despite he was not performing well with bat as well as with bowl,” he added.

Sarfraz said Mailk was sent at No 4 to bat, a position which was like backbone of every team. On this position players like Miandad, Zaheer Abbas, Younus Khan used to bat and performed exceptionally well and held the innings together, but Misbah deliberately gave number of chances to Malik and instead of sending him at No 4, the captain should himself have batted at this position as it would have far better impact on the team's overall performance and all batsmen could have scored and stayed at the crease.

“The time is high when Misbah should be sacked as a captain and should give chance only as a player in the team as he is too coward and extra defensive-minded to handle the pressure of captaincy,” Sarfaraz added.

The time is ripe the PCB must act in the best interest of the country and show the doors to aging players, who despite getting numerous chances failed to cement their places and new and fresh talent should be introduced to resolve team’s woes.

He said Miandad, Inzamam, Whatmore and now Woodhill was brought as batting coach. “There is absolutely no need of hiring such a low average coach Trent Woodhill when the country has the luxury of so many past greats who can easily help the players in overcoming their flaws and turn them into world class players.”

It is pertinent to mention here that it is almost the same side, which was coached by Mohsin Khan and same bunch of players had performed exceptionally well under his coaching winning three consecutive series and beating top sides of the world. What is the reason these players are not performing? The answer is very simple that Dave Whatmore is a complete failure and he has destroyed the careers of many talented players and still managing to retain not only coaching but also successfully bringing his blue-eyed persons in fielding and batting coaches role.

It is a great injustice to tax payer's money that such a hefty national exchequer is wasted on these ordinary coaches. The PCB must sack all these gentlemen and immediately replace them with national coaches, who have vast experience of international cricket. Mohsin can be recalled to redress the problem and can be assisted by former greats like Zaheer Abbas, Miandad, Mushtaq Muhammad, Hanif Muhammad and so many others who not only can revive the fast declining fortunes of the national team but also can help the board in various matters positively. The desired results can easily be achieved if the PCB will have the will and direction.

The time is ripe the cricket board should sack the selectors as well coaches and bring in the past Pakistan greats who may change the fortune of Pakistan cricket and help them in enhancing the team’s performance and earning good name and fame for the country across the world.