Inzamam slams 'unprofessional' Pakistan board
Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former Pakistan captain, has slammed the Pakistan Cricket Board's "unprofessional thinking" for dropping three ICL players from its list of probables for the World Twenty20 in June after initially naming them in the squad. Inzamam, who is also captain of ICL's Lahore Badshahs, said the Pakistan board and the selectors should have shown more respect to the three players who have represented the country.
Inzamam also criticised the ICC's move to implement stringent guidelines on unofficial cricket from June 1 to prevent future ICL models, and said the governing body was only scared of losing sponsorship money to independent organisers.
On Tuesday, the PCB backed out of a potential face-off with the ICC by dropping three ICL players - Abdul Razzaq, Imran Nazir and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan - from its list of 30 probables for the ICC World Twenty20 in June. Nazir and Naved-ul-Hasan played under Inzamam last season and Razzaq appeared for ICL's Hyderabad Heroes.
"The Pakistan board should not have announced the list if they were not clear about all aspects of the selection," Inzamam told Cricinfo. "One day they announced the list, and the next day they reversed it. This is the result of unprofessional thinking by the board and the selectors. If the PCB didn't have an ICC clearance, it had no right to name these players in the list and then tell them after a day that 'Look, we don't respect you'."
Asked about the ICC's move to crack down on unofficial cricket, including imposing stricter rules and a proposed cooling period for players who want to return, Inzamam accused the governing body of adopting double standards.
"The ICC is just scared that the money they generate from the game should not go to others," Inzamam said. "The ICC is bothered only about that. During the days when there was not so much money in cricket, players used to play in tournaments which had no official status in countries like Bangladesh; the ICC had no problems. The ICC is just worried that their sponsorship money would splinter. The ICC is worried about ICL only because of the money, otherwise they know these players are only playing cricket and not committing any crime."
Reacting to reports in the Pakistani media that Younis Khan, the Pakistan captain, was keen to include ICL players in the national team, Inzamam said it was the right way for a leader to think. "If Younis feels that with the return of ICL players, his team will get better or stronger, it's absolutely the right thought," he said. "The presence of players like Mohammed Yousuf, Nazir, Razzaq and Naved-ul Hasan will only strengthen the Pakistan team."
Pakistan's next international engagement is a five-match ODI series and a Twenty20 against Australia in Abu Dhabi from April 22-May 7.
Ajay Shankar is deputy editor of Cricinfo