PCB in crisis with no selection committee
Karachi: With Islamabad High Court`s order limiting the powers of the current PCB chairman Najam Sethi as a mere caretaker, which raised doubts over the legitimacy of the selection committee, the Board faces a tough situation with its national cricket team scheduled to leave for the tour of Zimbabwe in late August.
A senior official of the PCB told PTI that the national team was scheduled to tentatively leave for Zimbabwe on 19th or 20th of August to play two T20, three ODIs and two Test matches but no selection committee exits to select a team.
"Not only has the national team to tour Zimbabwe but the national under-23 squad also has to leave by August 15th to play in the ACC emerging nations tournament in Singapore," the official said.
"At the moment we don`t have a selection committee as per the orders of the Islamabad High Court, which has restrained the caretaker Chairman, Najam Sethi from exercising his powers and have declared all his decisions since taking charge in late June as null and void," the official explained.
Interestingly Sethi who was appointed by the government as PCB Chairman had accepted the resignation of Iqbal Qasim as chief selector and named former Test captain Moin Khan in his place.
"The main problem for us now is that the term of the old selection committee headed by Qasim has also expired today, so at all costs we have to appoint a new selection committee," the official said.
The Islamabad High Court while hearing a constitutional writ petition in its advanced judgment passed several orders. One of those said that a new Chairman be elected in 90 days time and secondly, the new selection committee should include a regional association official, a journalist, a cricket commentator and a cricket fan.
"The directives by the court as far as the selection committee are not practical to be honest, so the board is in a fix what to do now," a source in PCB said.
Sources said that Moin, with the help of the serving members of the selection committee whose tenure expired today, had already selected the under-23 squad and sent it to the PCB for approval but it was not announced because of the IHC judgment.
"The PCB is already facing another logistical issue that is to ensure that the Zimbabwe tour does not clash with the Champions League qualifiers in India since Misbah-ul-Haq will be leading the Faisalabad Wolves side in the lucrative league with the Pakistani champions playing their first match on September 17 in Hyderabad.
"The PCB has already requested the Zimbabwe cricket union to ensure the team has ample time to return home as the two Tests are to be played at the fag end of the tour," he said.
"Misbah has already told the board that he requires at least a week in India with the Faisalabad team to prepare for the Champions League qualifiers. He has said he doesn`t want to go to India in a haphazard manner and end up being eliminated in the qualifying matches," the official said.
A source in the board said that the PCB had tentatively prepared a travel date of 19th or 20th August for the Pakistan team to leave for Zimbabwe but were awaiting clearance.
"One solution could be that Misbah and other players of the Faisalabad Wolves side including Saeed Ajmal skip the final Test in Zimbabwe and return home to leave for India early."
A member of the Board of Governors told PTI that the PCB was raising a hue and cry over the selection of the teams in view of the IHC judgment.
"The board constitution however is clear that even the Board of Governors can approve the team after discussions with the captain and coach," said an official.
"There is pressure on PCB to follow in the footsteps of Indian cricket board and send more youngsters for the Zimbabwe tour and rest the senior players," he added.