New Delhi: Pakistan’s captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, and coach, Dav Whatmore, walked out of Friday’s selection meeting in Lahore to pick the Test squad for the South Africa tour over disagreements with the national selectors, Cricketnext has learned.
A source closed to the PCB told this website that Misbah and Whatmore were miffed with the axing of Adnan Akmal, who has been Pakistan’s specialist Test wicketkeeper since 2010, as well as the inclusion of four fast bowlers instead of five as they had requested.
"The selectors didn't pay heed to the suggestions and recommendations of the captain and the coach and called the shots in the selection,” said the source . “What irked Misbah and Whatmore the most was the selectors' decision to drop Adnan Akmal in favour of Sarfaraz Ahmed. Adnan did a fine job with the gloves and also with the bat during the Sri Lanka tour in 2012 so both captain and coach wanted him in the team. They tried hard to convince the selectors to retain Adnan in the Test team but to no avail.”
Cricketnext has also learned that both Misbah and Whatmore were of the opinion to include five fast bowlers due to conditions and pitches in South Africa. However, when the Pakistan selectors named four pace bowlers, included two uncapped quicks in Mohammad Irfan and Ehsan Adi, the captain and coach exited the meeting.
Said the source: “Though Junaid Khan is prodigiously talented, he is inexperienced and Umar Gul is the only fast bowler with substantial experience. So it is paramount to have the cushion of the fifth fast bowler. The captain and the coach made several efforts to put their point across by explaining the rationale but the selectors were extremely adamant. A long and animated discussion followed but things reached a deadlock. Misbah and Whatmore were visibly miffed and walked out of the meeting in fury."
The source also hinted at a regional bias in the selection suggesting that players like Sarfaraz and Faisal Iqbal were picked owing to their geographical roots. "The chief selector Iqbal Qasim and another selector Saleem Jaffer are from the Sindh province so to keep the Karachi cricket administrators happy they have a separate quota for this region in the team selection. What else could be the reason behind the selection of Sarfaraz and Faisal Iqbal? Adnan has scored 243 runs at 121.50 in this season's Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. He is a very fine wicketkeeper and the captain and the coach are extremely happy with his performance. How can he possibly be axed?
“Faisal's selection is even more inexplicable. He had got so many chances in the past as well and came a cropper. He was in the squad for the Sri Lanka tour in 2012 as well but didn't play a Test. He's unlikely to be in the playing XI in Test series against South Africa with the presence of batsmen like Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Misbah and Younis Khan in the middle order. Why not pick the fifth pace bowler instead of a batsman who is sure to not feature in any of the Tests during the tour?
"It is a well-documented fact that in Pakistan the captain and the coach have to bear the brunt of the defeat while selectors get away with shoddy team selection. Misbah and Whatmore felt that they should have had some say in the team selection for such an important tour. They have expressed their displeasure to the PCB and we might see some announcement in the week to come," concluded the source.
Pakistan will play three Tests in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Centurion. The first Test begins on February 1 at The Wanderers.