Pakistan news March 3, 2010

Mohsin for separate Twenty20 team

Mohsin Khan began his stint as Pakistan's new chief selector by calling for Pakistan's Twenty20 set-up and thinking to be divorced from the Test and ODI line-ups, arguing that cricket's newest format had played havoc with Pakistan's skills in the longer formats.

Mohsin was appointed yesterday, taking over from Iqbal Qasim, who handed in his resignation after Pakistan's winless tour of Australia. He becomes the third full-time chief selector in less than a year and though his first assignment will be to pick a squad of 15 for the World Twenty20 defense in the Caribbean in April, his real work, he said, will begin after that.

"My personal opinion is that Test cricket and ODI cricket should have no relation to Twenty20 cricket," Mohsin said at the National Stadium in Karachi, echoing the belief of Mohammad Yousuf who said during the Australia tour that the format would "destroy" cricket in Pakistan.

"Twenty20 cricket should be totally separate apart from some outstanding players like Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Fawad Alam, Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul who fit into every format. But apart from these players, I would request the chairman to have a totally different set-up for the format. Twenty20 cricket has messed up our Test cricket skills and in ODIs we cannot bat even 50 overs."

The terms of reference for his role and its parameters appear broad and flexible currently; no time limit is set on the job and the former Test opener even insisted that he would be more than willing to help out in a coaching capacity, an option he was initially keen on in his negotiations with the chairman.

"For two to three months I had been in direct talks with the chairman," Mohsin said. "I said that if I do come back to the board then in two fields am I capable of giving something back to cricket, coaching or selection. The chairman called me yesterday and said he wants me to start with the selection committee right now.

"Coaching is still my first choice and I have told the chairman, I still feel physically fit enough to do it. I have said whenever you need my services in coaching department it is always there. In our top order batting we do have a problem, so I have said whenever you need my services I am ready."

Pakistan's chief selectors in recent years have had to deal constantly with problems over the ambit and nature of their role. The post has become, essentially a full-time, professional one, barring Qasim's recent stint, which was in an honorary capacity.

But both Abdul Qadir and Salahuddin Mulla in recent years have faced issues over the apparent undermining of their authority and say in selection by the captain and coach. "The chairman has given me total authority," Mohsin said. "In selecting a team, there are three pillars and all have to take blame or credit: the selection committee, captain and coach. All three have to take responsibility. I want the captain and coach in the process, because they have to fight on the field."

These issues will be discussed in a meeting with Ijaz Butt later in the week but Mohsin said he is more than happy to have no set time limit on his role. "I have not asked for a specific time period. I will start and do the work and keep doing it until the board is satisfied with me and I am satisfied with them. People have had tenures before which they didn't finish so I said to the chairman let's not set a fixed time. Until I am doing well, until the board thinks I am doing well, fine. I don't want to be a burden anywhere. You clap with two hands, not one. We will work together, how long for I don't know."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo