KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif on Monday posed serious questions to the national selection committee over makeup of the national squad which will play Tests against Ireland and England next month.
Speaking to Dawn a day after chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq announced the 16-man squad Rashid expressed his resentment over the continuous omission of Fawad Alam, the left-handed Pakistan discard who averages 55.35 in first-class cricket.
“How come Fawad has not been selected when Pakistan are in dire need of experienced guys to beef up the batting,” Rashid asked from his adopted hometown of Islamabad. “The simultaneous retirements of Younis [Khan] and Misbah [ul-Haq] after the West Indies tour last year left a gaping hole in the Pakistan batting and which was brutally exposed by an under-strengthened Sri Lankan bowling line-up on the slow pitches of the UAE.
“My question to Inzamam is straightforward. Why Fawad was included in the pre-tour camp when he wasn’t in the [selectors’] radar for the three Test matches coming up in alien conditions? I’m perplexed by some of the selections made by Inzamam and company.
“Just imagine Fawad last played a Test in 2009 when he was 23-year-old. I feel very sorry for him [Fawad] because before Inzamam took as chief selector, the previous heads [of the national selection committee] Mohsin Khan, Mohammad Ilyas and Haroon Rashid all ignored his rightful claims to play for Pakistan at the highest level,” the vocal Rashid added. “It’s like handing a sentence to someone who has committed a heinous crime. Inzamam’s committee has done a financial murder to Fawad given how much Test players are paid these days. His track record speaks for itself with those 27 centuries and 10,742 first-class runs.”
Rated among the best wicket-keepers of his era, Rashid even queried the logic of selecting limited-overs specialist Fakhar Zaman and feared the dashing left-hander would struggle in testing conditions of Ireland and England.
“When Azhar Ali and Sami Aslam are two openers with Imam-ul-Haq as the third, what is the point of having Fakhar as the back-up [opener] when only three are sufficient,” he questioned. “The inclusion of fourth opener is a bad formation from the selection committee. And I just can’t understand that Inzamam has spoken about giving experience to the batsmen of playing in English as preparations for the World Cup next year. Out of the lot picked for this tour how many of them will at the World Cup? Because Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Sami Aslam surely won’t get picked in the [World Cup] squad and then I’m not sure whether Fakhar would be playing in the coming Tests, so where on earth one makes an illogical statement of Inzamam’s because Test, one-day and for that matter T20 are totally different formats.
“It seems surreal what the chief selector has uttered. It’s like beating about the bush because there is no sense in picking players just to give them experience.”
Rashid further said that Mir Hamza, the left-arm fast bowler who was part of the squad during the Sri Lanka series last October, should have been picked along with Sadaf Hussain.
“Both are extremely talented youngsters with outstanding record. Hamza has 258 first-class wickets at 18.22 while Sadaf has got 358 wickets at 18.37. Compared those figures with that of Rahat Ali’s Test statistics, only 58 wickets in 20 Tests at 37.43…. No comparison,” he concluded.