Iqbal alleges conspiracy over exclusion
Faisal Iqbal, the Pakistan middle-order batsman, has questioned his continued exclusion from the national side.
He was recently denied a PCB contract and was overlooked for the tour of Sri Lanka, leaving his future in doubt. Iqbal has played only 26 Tests in a career that began in 2001 and last featured in a Pakistan side in 2010. He was among the touring party in 2012 to Sri Lanka and to Zimbabwe in 2013, but could not break into the XI.
"I have a simple question: why is Faisal Iqbal being held from playing for Pakistan team," he asked on Geo Super. "Who is the power behind my exclusion and why are they not allowing me to play? Since my debut [in 2001] players who debuted around me went playing on and on and even had thousands of comeback in the side. And I was dropped after my third comeback without even playing me in the XI.
"What am I going to do? I am scoring runs in domestic cricket, but gradually I have even been dropped from the central contracts as well so where should I go and put my case?" he said. "I am a senior player and have served the country and this should not be the way I should be treated."
Iqbal has a history of impressing on his return. In 2002, he scored 83 against Australia on his first innings back. Then came 139 against India - a highlight of his career - which guided Pakistan to a 341-run victory in Karachi in 2006. Pakistan's tour to Sri lanka in 2009 was the stage for his third comeback, when he scored a fifty. Iqbal's problem, though, has been consistency, which had often led to his exclusion.
"I don't want to criticise the system of Pakistan cricket. I have all due respect as I am here only because of the cricket I have played for Pakistan. I simply fail to understand why I am be being pushed back. Is there a conspiracy because of I am the nephew of Javed Miandad? Nobody is ready to understand and I am very frustrated at not being given answers."
Iqbal, 32, had a prolific career at junior level, since making the Under-15 side but his time with the seniors has, for the most part, been marred by allegations of nepotism. His career coincided with Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq being in their prime, and was never able to cement his place in the team. His domestic figures are impressive with 10970 runs at 40.33 in 193 matches to go along with 5136 at 41.74 in List A matches. However, he fell short of those standards last season with only 538 runs at 35.86; 32 other batsmen had done better.
"I am always made a fool and asked to go back to scratch and play domestic cricket again and again. Am I only here to play domestic cricket? When will I be given due reward for my performance in domestic? If I was good enough to recalled in 2012, then why I was reduced to the bench and dropped without even giving me an opportunity. I am always taught to focus on ground performance but now I realise that I have been fooled all these years. I wanted to be heard to those who are the concerned (PCB and selectors)."
"I knew there was a conspiracy and that with time they will drop me from from every format and will later cut me from the central contract. Now what will I do, probably sell mangoes in garden and perform there to win place."