The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday announced the squads for the upcoming T20 and ODI series against England and the T20I and Test series against West Indies. Responding to the announcement, Ramiz Raja expressed strong disappointment, saying he just doesn’t understand the selection and the slotting of the Pakistan cricket team.
While speaking on his YouTube channel, the former Pakistan cricketer said that the fact that old players are being recalled and preferred over the youngsters is hurting the team.
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“I still don’t understand the slotting and the selection of players in Pakistan cricket. That is because you select a team, you announce a lot of uncapped players and it is appreciated because once again, there is an eye on the future. And then you don’t play them. It’s just like sending an all-decked-up bride back without getting her married. Then you suddenly look back to the recycled players. Not only are they recalled to the team but they are also made to play. They are preferred over the uncapped players,” said Ramiz.
Citing the example of Tabish Khan, the oldest Test debutant for Pakistan in 66 years, Ramiz asserted that he doesn’t have a clue about the logic that goes into the selection. He said so because Tabish, a domestic cricket veteran with more than 590 wickets, made his debut at the age of 36 in a Test against Zimbabwe but was not included in the Test squad for West Indies.
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“Then, according to the slotting, you announce a player in the Test squad like Salman Ali but you play him in the ODIs next time. So, either the earlier selection wasn’t right or this selection isn’t. You aren’t aware of the quality of the player. It is like you debut a 36 or a 38-year-old (Tabish Khan) in Zimbabwe against a team like Zimbabwe but you don’t give a chance to a 22-year-old. I mean I haven’t seen this happen anywhere in the world. And then you also free him after the Test debut. It’s basically a benefit match for him because you did not give him a Test cap with the future in mind. What kind of thinking and logic is this?” explained Raja.
Fifty-eight-year-old Ramiz further spoke about the high-performance centres in the country, saying their approach needs to be corrected. The cricketer-turned commentator reason that in order to increase the talent pool, the focus of the coaches needs to be on the young and uncapped players.
“See, these (high-performance centres) platforms and centres are meant for age cricket where you bring out the future stars. When you invest big coaches on the future stars, only then your cricket and your system is benefitted and not that the already-established first-class and Test players. If you bring them back, how will you increase the canvas, the scope, and talent pool with this execution and planning? I will say it again, the biggest problem with Pakistan cricket is that their GPS is not set yet about moving forward,” concluded Raja.
Pakistan, which last toured Zimbabwe and won both the T20I (2-1) and Test series (2-0), will kick off their tour of England on July 8 with the first ODI. The two teams will play three ODIs and as many T20Is.