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Selector Illyas says son-in-law Farhat deserves place in squad

Karachi: National selector Muhammad Illyas has hit out at his critics who alleged conflict of interest whenever his son-in-law Imran Farhat was picked for Pakistan, saying that the youngster deserved a place in the squad.

Farhat, married to Illyas` daughter, hit a match-winning 67 as opener in Pakistan`s second innings in their three-wicket win over Australia in the second Test at Leeds. He also got decent starts in the first Test at Lord`s.

"I was hurt when some people tried to insinuate that Imran was in the team because of me. Many people don`t know that whenever the selectors discussed Imran, I left the room because I felt It was better I was not involved in a final decision on his selection since he is my son-in-law," Illyas, a former Test player, told reporters.

"I never had any say in his final selection because I saw it as a conflict of interest. If he came into the team it was because the other selectors felt he deserved a place," he said.

The outspoken selector said he was not only happy that Pakistan had won a Test against Australia to break a 15-year-old jinx but also because Farhat scored crucial runs.

"Whatever cricket Imran is playing it is because of his ability and hardwork. I have no say in it. It is a wrong impression that I push for him," Illyas said.

"For me nothing is more important than national interest. I would never support or back a decision if it involved selecting a player who didn`t deserve to be in the team for any reason," he added.

20-year-old left-handed Farhat has been in and out of the national team since 2000 when he made his debut in New Zealand. He left international cricket to join `rebel` Indian Cricket League three years ago.

Illyas said he was overjoyed with Pakistan`s Test win as it came through a new look team and under a new captain.

"The victory is sweet because it is clear that Salman Butt has gelled the team well and they played like a team. I am confident they can carry on with their good performance in future as well," he stated.

He, however, reserved special praise for left-arm pacer Muhammad Aamer who took seven wickets in the second Test.

"He is one of the best talents to come up in Pakistan for a while now and he is a quick learner he is learning very quickly and he has a good cricket brain. He is now a more difficult bowler to face because of his ability to swing the ball into the right handed batsman," Illyas said.

PTI

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