Pakistan chooses Shahid Afridi as interim chief selector
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — The Pakistan Cricket Board chose former captain Shahid Afridi as interim chief selector of the men’s team on Saturday and ex-international players Abdul Razzaq and Rao Iftikhar as members of the selection panel.
Najam Sethi, new chairman of the PCB’s management committee, dissolved the previous committee that was headed by Mohammad Wasim.
“We need to get back to winning ways,” Afridi said. “I have no doubts that through meritocratic and strategic selection decisions we will help the national side to perform strongly in the series against New Zealand and reclaim the confidence of our fans.”
The first of two tests between Pakistan and New Zealand starts Monday in Karachi.
Sethi fired Ramiz Raja as PCB chairman on Thursday after the government appointed a management committee to form a new governing board within four months.
Former test player Haroon Rasheed, one of 14 members in the new interim management committee, was named as convenor of the selection committee. Afridi is also part of the management committee.
Wasim, a former Pakistan middle-order batter, was appointed in 2020 and was expected to stay until next year’s 50-over World Cup in India.
Sethi welcomed Afridi as head of the selection panel and hoped the committee “will make brave and bold decisions that will help us produce a strong and competitive side in the series against New Zealand.”
Afridi scored 11,196 runs and took 541 wickets with his leg-spin bowling in his 27 test matches, 398 ODIs and 99 Twenty20s. He captained the team in 83 international games. He was a member of the team which won the 2009 T20 World Cup in England.
The new selection committee recalled fast bowler Mir Hamza after four years and also added uncapped paceman Shahnawaz Dahani and offspinner Sajid Khan to the squad to face New Zealand. The move came after Afridi chaired an online meeting of selectors on Saturday and also discussed the players with captain Babar Azam.
“We needed to strengthen our bowling department to give ourselves the best chance of taking 20 wickets in a (test) match,” Afridi said. “I am confident the inclusion of three additional bowling resources will give Babar Azam more options to field the best available squad for the first test.”
Hamza, a leftarm fast bowler, played his only test match against Australia in 2018 in Abu Dhabi. He picked up 16 wickets in four matches during a recent first-class tournament. Sajid has taken 22 test wickets in seven test matches, but was not part of the team during the last two test series against Sri Lanka and England.
Pakistan was beaten 3-0 by England in a test series which finished last week.
New Zealand will be playing its first international games in Pakistan since 2003 when it last toured the country for a limited-overs series.
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