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PCB releases a statement after PML-N Senator claims of ‘Sifaarish’ in Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal’s inclusion in the Pakistan team

PCB clearly refuted the allegations.

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Umar Akmal
Umar Akmal. (Photo by ARIF ALI/AFP via Getty Images)

Pakistan team has been garnering widespread criticism after their full-strength side was beaten 0-3 in front of their home fans. The second string Sri Lankan side performed admirably well to go past the number 1 T20I side in the world. Apart from the dismal performance, what caught the ire of fans as well as the pundits was the team selection. Misbah-ul-Haq recalled the tried and tested discards Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal. The move, however, failed with both of them failing to impress with the bat.

In a bid to discuss the reasons behind Pakistan’s defeat, the Senate Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) met with Senator Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Nasar in the chair at the Parliament House. The PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan alleged that Misbah-ul-Haq was forced to select the duo of Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal.

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He said that Misbah bowed down to the pressure of “sifarish” from the “upper-office” in a bid to save his job. “Misbah preferred to save his job but the team lost,” Mushahidullah Khan said as quoted by Dawn.

Pakistan Cricket Board issues a letter

Expectedly, Mushahidullah Khan’s comment created a major furor across Pakistan, and now the PCB has issued a clarification statement regarding the same. It has refuted the senators’ comments. It asserted that Shehzad and Umar Akmal’s inclusion was based on their performance in the PSL 2019.

The PCB said, “The PCB is saddened with the learned Senator’s comments and wishes to put the facts right. Firstly, Misbah-ul-Haq, along with the selection committee, is completely empowered to select the best available players to represent Pakistan, taking into account the player performances, form, fitness and using his own judgment, assessment, and insight – a right he has earned through his illustrious career.

“Secondly, the PCB encourages and ensures the independence of its selectors enabling them to work without any fear or favor. This key practice was maintained in the selection of the Pakistan cricket team for the series against Sri Lanka, and neither Misbah-ul-Haq was influenced by the PCB nor by the upper circles.

“Thirdly, Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal had earned selections through their performances in the HBL Pakistan Super League 2019, which was the last T20 event held prior to the T20I series against Sri Lanka. 

“In the HBL PSL 2019, Ahmed had scored 311 runs in eight matches at an average of 51.83 with a strike-rate of 126.93. He had hit 30 fours and eight sixes. As far as Umar Akmal is concerned, he had scored 277 runs in 12 matches at an average of 34.62 with a strike-rate of 137.12. He had hit 18 fours and 16 sixes. Both the players were members of the Quetta Gladiators side, which won the tournament in front of a packed National Stadium and millions of television viewers.

“Lastly, the letter dated 8 October 2019 addressed to the Chairman PCB, had ‘requested that senior representatives may attend the aforesaid meeting along with all concerned’. 

“The PCB Chairman and Chief Executive had been traveling for ICC meetings, Director – Domestic Cricket, and, as such, Mr. Haroon Rashid, and Senior Legal Counsel, Barrister Salman Naseer, were nominated to represent the PCB as the nominated individuals are knowledgeable and relevant to the agenda item communicated for the meeting i.e. briefing by PCB regarding the new Domestic Cricket Structure,” PCB said in a letter according to pcb.com.pk.

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