Lahore: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has taken a mysterious U-turn on the issue of former cricketer Salim Malik applying for the post of batting coach with the national team.
Just three days after Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf had categorically and effectively ruled out Malik`s candidature by stating that only those candidates would be considered for the job who met the criteria and eligibility rules, the PCB said Malik had still not been ruled out for the job.
PCB spokesman, Nadeem Sarwar said that the coaching committee appointed by the board to vet, shortlist and recommend candidates for the batting coach position would take a decision on Malik`s application.
Sarwar said Malik`s credentials would be reviewed by the committee that is headed by former Test captain, Intikhab Alam in similar way as they do with other candidates.
"The committee will than decide whether Malik fulfil`s the eligibility criteria to be considered for the job," he said.
"As of now no final decision has been taken on Malik`s appointment," he added.
Interestingly, the PCB has asked all interested candidates applying for the batting coach position to have a minimum of level three coaching credentials.
Malik has said he has no coaching certificates but claimed that with his vast experience he was the right man for the job.
Malik applied for the job despite serving a life ban for his role in match-fixing.
A judicial inquiry commission had recommended the life ban on Malik in 2000 but the former captain, who appeared in 103 Tests, claims he has got the ban removed from the higher court and can be considered for any position by the board.
Two years back when Malik had approached the then Chairman, Ijaz Butt and convinced him to allow him to coach at the national academy in Lahore, the ICC stepped in to skittle any such move from the board insisting that the former captain was under a life ban.
Zaka Ashraf had three days back ruled out Malik when he said only those candidates would be considered for the job who had required qualifications.
"It makes no sense for the board to now come out with this explanation because in the first place Malik does not meet the eligibility requirements for the job. So what is the purpose of saying the coaching committee has yet to take a final decision," a former test player said.
A source close to the coaching committee made it clear that Malik`s application could only be considered or even discussed if the board gave him clearance.
"We will first of all ask the board to explain and confirm whether he (Malik) can be considered for the job as far as we know he is serving a life ban for match fixing and we would not like to waste our time on reviewing a candidate who is not allowed to take part in any cricket activity at any level," the source said.
He also said that he also couldn`t understand the purpose of the spokesman giving a statement.
"The board has to tell us what to do we can`t decide in Malik`s case. We don`t even know whether he is eligible or not."