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Malik for Imran as PCB chief

Islamabad: Former captain and middle-order batsman Salim Malik has called for the appointment of Imran Khan as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief to set all the things right in Pakistan cricket.

“The ad-hoc set up has ruined the board besides wasting the valuable national money,” he was quoted as saying in the local media here on Sunday.

Malik said the poor performance by the Pakistan team in the World Cup and specially in the match against India was due to lack of team work and “undue poking” of nose by Gen. Tauqir Zia.

“Now the board needs a man with conviction, who is bold while decision making and it is only Imran Khan who can prepare such a fiery team which could rule the game of the cricket in future,” he said.

No let-up

Meanwhile, there was no let-up in the drama and intrigue that has gripped Pakistan cricket ever since the team’s early ouster, with the senior players slapped with an ultimatum that they either quit on their own or face the axe.

The players are earning a bad name for the country by sticking to their places and they will not be included in the team in the future, PCB chief Gen. Zia said.

They will be given a choice to quit honourably though, Gen. Zia said in response to questions on the refusal of the senior players, including captain Waqar Younis, to quit.

Besides Waqar, Wasim Akram, Inzamam-ul Haq, Saeed Anwar and Rashid Latif have also declined to quit. Waqar, Akram and Anwar retracted after initially saying they were disappointed and intended to retire. Inzamam quit from vice-captaincy but said he would continue to play and get his form back.

Gen. Zia said a team comprising youngsters had already been finalised to play in the three-nation Sharjah Cup but declined to reveal the details.

He said even he intended to step down but only after bringing the team back to its winning ways.

Claiming he was not one to be cowed down, Gen. Zia said “producing a new team is a big challenge before me.”

He refuted allegations that he interfered with the selection of the team even during the matches. “I did not ask committee members to act on my advice. The selection committee was free to take decisions. But unfortunately it took some wrong decisions resulting in the expulsion of the team from the mega event.”

He said selection blunders like dropping spinner Saqlain Mushtaq and including Shahid Afridi to play against India could have been avoided. In fact from now on he would interfere to keep things in order, he said.

The PCB chief also dismissed criticism over appointment of foreign coach Richard Pybus before the World Cup.

“It is not a big issue because India and Sri Lanka also have foreign coaches,” he said.

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