Thursday Jan 20, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Former Test cricketer Iqbal Qasim has called out the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for what he believes were glaring mistakes made by the board, saying that those responsible must be punished for failing to perform their duties.
Qasim, a prominent figure in cricketing circles, wants an investigation into two of the most egregious incidents which he says have "tarnished the image of the country and its cricket".
In an exclusive interview with The News, the former chief selector stated that rather than taking credit for suspending Under-16 and Under-13 cricket, an investigation into why overage players were allowed to compete in these age-restricted events should have been completed by now.
“When you fail to check flaws and weaknesses in time, this failure leads to disgrace. There is nothing to boast about this suspension, rather it should be a rude awakening call for the concerned officials. In fact, it should be a matter of grave concern and shame for all those responsible for selecting overage players in these age-restricted national events," he said.
“Why has a player who looks above the required age has broken into the Under-13 or Under-16 top domestic teams for national events?" he asked, adding that the selectors were there to conduct facial scrutiny and the system is also there (with the help of Shaukat Khanum Hospital) to go through the wrist and bone verification.
"Why has someone failed to perform his duties, bringing in a bad name to the country’s cricket? Why was there no timely check on players’ age? This is a blunt failure, inviting a thorough probe and inquiry,” he said.
Iqbal Qasim stated that rather than taking credit for an issue that has damaged the country's reputation, the PCB should have provided an appropriate response.
“No one realises here how news or junior cricket suspension would have been perceived internationally. Some of our cricketers have already been blamed in the past for hiding their age. Now such a piece of news emerging from the PCB has strengthened a negative impression," he said, adding that instead of openly declaring that these events are suspended on cricketers’ age issues, these must have been halted on the pretext of the growing COVID-19 cases and an inquiry should have been launched privately as to who was at fault for such a glaring miss.
"Unfortunately by openly declaring the failure of the system, the PCB has exposed the country’s cricket for international criticism,” he said.
The former chief selector was also critical of the decision on Mohammad Hasnain's bowling action in the private league.
“Hasnain has been playing international cricket for some years now and never was questioned anywhere in the world on his bowling action," Qasim said, sharing that Hasnain has come through a system supervised by the PCB.
"If he [Hasnain] has any action (which I think he doesn’t), the PCB’s highly paid experts should know about that else this private league with the name of Big Bash League should be made answerable to such a step that is beyond their jurisdiction. We have some highly talented pacers knocking at the doors for a permanent place on the national squad and it is PCB’s responsibility to protect them," the former chief selector said.
He questioned why former cricketers looking after the NCA have remained silent over this "highly deplorable step" taken by the BBL officials.
"The PCB must come hard on BBL’s ill move that is nothing more than an attempt to discourage Pakistani youngsters. And if there is any hitch in Hussain’s bowling why the highly paid experts have done nothing to rectify his action during all these years. Both the cases need a thorough inquiry in an effort to save the future of Pakistan cricket.”