Monday, January 02, 2023
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Najam Sethi Sunday championed the appointment of Shahid Afridi as selection committee head as worthy, calling him a “bold and beautiful” player having the guts to take daring as well as endearing decisions on and off the field.
Speaking to Arab News, the PCB managing committee chairman, who was given the responsibility last month in a sudden change of guard at the cricket board, said that Afridi was very popular and the sort of person they wanted in the selection committee who could take “bold” decisions.
Afridi was given charge of men’s team selection after Mohammad Wasim was sacked by the new PCB management. Since then, multiple changes have been made in the squad for the New Zealand Test series.
Defending his decision to bring in the swashbuckling batter, Sethi said he was someone to experiment with new talent and to realise where 'the old was still gold'.
“I think that was missing in this team which is why we had four defeats in a row in Test matches," he said, referring to back-to-back losses in the red ball format against England and Australia.
"Afridi was on board, he wanted to make some changes and he wanted to play bold and exciting cricket," Sethi told the foreign media.
While indirectly taking a jibe at the previous PCB boss for making flat pitches to avoid defeat, the PCB boss said, "We are not going to play to win or to lose, but we are now going to play the game in the true spirit of the game."
When asked about Babar Azam’s replacement in any of the three formats amid concerns about workload management of the top players in the team, Sethi said that's something the PCB had not considered.
The selection committee also made changes to the Test squad, inducting Sarfaraz Ahmed in place of Mohammad Rizwan.
“There is a lot of talk about it,” Najam Sethi said, adding there is some public pressure also over some decisions that have been taken on the field [by the skipper].
Meanwhile, shedding light on Pakistan’s coaching staff, Sethi almost sealed the fate of head coach Saqlain Mushtaq saying Mickey Arthur was PCB’s “number one priority” for the slot.
Saqlain Mushtaq and South African player Shaun Tait (bowling coach) were hired in February 2022 for one year.
“The PCB is in communication with Arthur to take up the head coach assignment,” Sethi told the publication.
"We have mooted this idea before our board and everybody is on the same page."