Pakistan captain blames selectors for defeat

Published: Thursday, October 16, 2008, 19:00 [IST]
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PakistanKarachi: The skipper and the coach of the Pakistan team have revealed that the squad selected for the four-nation Twenty20 tournament in Toronto was not of their choice.

Pakistan lost the final match of the tournament to Sri Lanka early this week.

Shoaib Malik and Geoff Lawson interacted with media after reaching Lahore from Toronto last night.

"The team that went to Canada was different from the one the selectors, Shoaib and I discussed. The selectors picked that team and it is their responsibility. Their Chairman has resigned so you should ask the selectors what happened between them," Lawson said.

Chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed had resigned before the tournament in protest to a change made in the selected squad without the consent of the selectors.

The selectors had picked off spinner Saeed Ajmal in the squad but he was replaced by the rookie batsman Shoaib Khan in the last minute change.

The batsman from Quetta played in all four games in Toronto and flopped in three including the final.

"I was there when we discussed the team but we didn't discuss who to take and who to drop. Certainly the team that went to Toronto was not the one I had in mind," Malik said.

Malik added that as per the terms and conditions of the players' central contract, the 15 players are decided by the selectors along with the 11 for a home series.

"The captain, coach and manager are the final authority on the team's lineup on tour. It is my job to play the eleven we finalise on the field and I did that and I am happy that we fought till the end," Malik said.

The new PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt has ordered an inquiry into how the team picked by the selectors was changed after it was sent to the sports ministry for final approval.

Sources say that some people in the Board and sports ministry had some personal interest involved in selecting Shoaib Khan in the team and made changes without informing the selectors.

But the intriguing thing is how Shoaib Khan's visa was arranged at such a short notice as the visas were only issued by the Canadian embassy one day before the team's departure for Toronto.

"The Board says the Canadian embassy had refused to issue visas to the list of 22 players sent to them by the PCB and that they agreed to only issue visas to the 15 who would go to Canada.

"The question is how did the Board manage to get the visa for Shoaib Khan at such a short notice when the selectors didn't include him in the final squad," the source said.

Interestingly, the Canadian embassy had delayed the process of issuing visas to the Pakistani players and officials after they raised some objections to issuing visas to senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf and all-rounder Yasir Arafat.

Yousuf was eventually not issued a visa and till now no one has officially confirmed what objections were raised over his visa.

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