PCB cautions Afridi for criticising selection
Shahid Afridi has been cautioned by the PCB after expressing his unhappiness with the selection of the squad he will lead against South Africa in Abu Dhabi and Dubai later this month. The board announced a 15-man squad to play two Twenty20s and five ODIs last week, but didn't initially name a captain. Afridi was named captain a day later, but not before fuelling speculation that he and the board were unhappy with each other.
"The team was announced without my input and advice," Afridi told Express News. "I wanted 2-3 players other than Sohail Tanvir in the side." Afridi, currently in Lahore leading the Karachi Dolphins in the domestic Twenty20 Cup, said he would speak to the chairman Ijaz Butt about the squad. Butt is, however, currently in Dubai for an ICC meeting.
But the statements have earned him an official rebuke from the board. "He has been sent a letter today [Tuesday] telling him to avoid giving such interviews," a board official told ESPNcricinfo. The official clarified, however, that the communication was not a show-cause notice.
Afridi's comments strengthen suspicions of Butt's growing influence in selection matters and the shaping of squads. ESPNcricinfo has been told, by reliable sources, that coach Waqar Younis was also not consulted over the selection. Waqar arrived in Lahore early Monday from Sydney and the source said he was "quite upset" about it. Last Friday, when Misbah-ul-Haq was appointed Test captain, chief selector Mohsin Khan had distanced himself from the decision and said that Younis Khan was the preferred choice of his committee.
Traditionally, the PCB chief has only signed off on final squads and appointed a captain, not involving himself to any extent in the composition of the squad itself. That has been left to the chief selector, captain and coach. Butt's two years as chairman, however, have seen six different captains, five chief selectors and three coaches; the constant state of flux, according to one ex-selector, has concentrated power in the chairman's hands.
"This has gotten particularly worse since Mohsin Khan became chief selector," he told ESPNcricinfo. "Until Iqbal Qasim [predecessor to Mohsin] was there the chairman would never attend selection meetings. Now Mohsin doesn't consult with his own committee and only gets instructions from the chairman and essentially says yes to whatever the chairman has said." Earlier this year, in June, the same criticism was levelled at Mohsin and Butt during the announcement of the squad for the series against Australia in England.
Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo