Whatmore calls the shots


Australian coach Dav Whatmore showed that he is going to play an influential role in Pakistan cricket in the future as PCB and selectors went for a revamp of policies while announcing the national squads for the coming tour to Sri Lanka. The revamped policy decisions saw Misbah-ul-Haq removed as captain of the T20 squad and also dropped as a player for the format while all-rounder and close friend, Mohammad Hafeez was not only appointed T20 captain but also given the position of being deputy to Misbah in Tests and ODIs.
Hafeez’s promotion and preference over former captains, Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi confirmed that the board was ready to give Whatmore his say in cricket matters. Reports quoted insiders as saying that it was Whatmore and Intikhab Alam, an influential figure in the board and the head of the national cricket academy, who had backed Hafeez for the new roles although the PCB chairman, Zaka Ashraf and chief selector, Iqbal Qasim were in favour of having Shahid Afridi as the T20 captain.
“The fact that for the first time in Pakistan cricket the selectors have announced separate squads for Tests, ODIs and T20 cricket with several changes in their line ups show that Whatmore is calling the shots.
“The debate over whether Hafeez was ready for the new responsibilities was the reason the announcement of the teams was delayed for one day,” a reliable source said. Malik, who was thought to be a strong candidate for the T20 captaincy, surprisingly was only included in the T20 squad but ignored for selection in the other two formats.
As expected Ashraf had words of praise for Misbah at a press conference called to announce the new policy decisions. “Misbah has done a wonderful job as captain in difficult times for Pakistan cricket and we salute him. But it is time to move on and everyone felt we need to start afresh in T20 cricket,” Ashraf said.
Ashraf said the board still had lot of confidence in Misbah which is why he was retained for Tests and ODIs.
Misbah, who turns 38 later this month, has led Pakistan in all three formats since last year after Afridi was sacked as captain of the ODI and T20 sides, said he was not disappointed at losing the T20 captaincy or place in the team. “Changes are always made in cricket and the board and selectors must have taken decisions after much thought and I will be there to support Hafeez,” Misbah said. Ashraf said he hoped that Misbah and Hafeez who were close friends would work well together as captain and vice captain.
“They have done well in the past and we hope this partnership will continue in future as well.” But Ashraf also warned that the board had no intention of compromising on discipline.
“Our stance is clear there will be no compromise on discipline if we have to take hard decisions we will take it even if it means losing key players,” he said.
Pakistan tours Sri Lanka from May 29 to play three Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20 matches after which it will play five ODIs and three T20 matches against Australia in Sri Lanka before the ICC T20 World Cup.
Not surprisingly, the selectors after consultations with Whatmore have recalled several discarded players and introduced some new faces in the squads announced today for all three formats.
Fast bowler, Mohammad Sami is back in all three squads after last playing for Pakistan in 2010 while other recalled players include batsmen, Imran Farhat, Faisal Iqbal, Khalid Latif and the exciting Ahmed Shahzad. The new faces include batsmen, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Ayub Dogar and Afaq Raheem.