Operation clean-up: Amir, Imad, Iftikhar, Azam may be axed; Wahab's post at risk

Sources say that group of three players in team were blackmailing PCB officials at behest of their manager

By
Abdul Majid Bhatti
(From top left to bottom right) A combo of images showing Pakistan team players Mohammad Amir, Imad Wasim, Iftikhar Ahmed and Azam Khan. — AFP/File
  • Group of three senior players were blackmailing PCB: sources.
  • Trio's manager had exerted pressure on issue of central contract.
  • Changes in team to be based on coach, captain's reports.

KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is likely to make significant changes in the team following its poor performance in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2024 with several players likely to be axed along with the team's senior manager and selection committee member Wahab Riaz, sources told Geo News.

Players including Mohammad Amir, Imad Wasim, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan, and Usman Khan are likely to face difficulties in maintaining their place in the Green Shirts' squad in the future.

Furthermore, the team's senior manager and selection committee member Riaz's post is also at risk as there is a suggestion regarding changes in the board's selection committee.

The sources say that a group of three players in the Pakistan team were blackmailing the PCB officials at the behest of the players' manager, who represents all three players, and had pressurised the board to secure a significant increase in the remuneration in the players' central contract.

The changes in the national side, the sources added, will be based on the reports of captain Babar Azam, head coach Gary Kirsten, Senior Manager Riaz, and Assistant Coach Azhar Mahmood.

Furthermore, the report of former director Mohammad Hafeez, who has previously accused the players of grouping and prioritising money over performance, will also be reviewed.

The players and members of the selection committee, as per the sources, will be "sent home" following their T20 World Cup 2024 performance and the series held before the mega event.

The development comes a day after PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi expressed disappointment in the Green Shirts after the loss against India and said that such poor performance indicated the need for a "major surgery".

Speaking to journalists after the Pakistan vs India match at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, Naqvi said that the "defeat against India was disappointing in every sense".

"It seemed that a minor surgery would work but after this bad performance, I’m now sure that a major surgery is required. The nation will soon see a major overhaul," he said.

Stressing that he knew what was going on in the team and what were the reasons for losing, the PCB chairman lamented the national side's current performance at its lowest level.

"We have to make the Pakistani cricket team one of the best in the world. The nation does not expect such a disappointing performance from the cricket team," he noted.

The Babar Azam-led side is set to face Canada in their third match of the ongoing mega event after suffering back-to-back losses against the Untied States and India.

With India and US on top of the points table in Group A, the Men in Green  need to win their next two games against Canada and Ireland.

However, for Pakistan to qualify to the Super Eight stage, the US needs to lost their next two matches against India and Ireland.

Even if all goes in the national side's favour, it would finally come down to the net run rate (NRR) which needs to be better than that of the US.

On the other hand, if the US win one more match, Pakistan will not have to be bothered about the NRR anymore as they will definitely not be entering the next stage.