Wahab Riaz is Pakistan’s new chief selector

Wahab Riaz, the former Pakistan fast bowler, has been appointed the new chief selector of the senior men’s team. His appointment comes not long after Inzamam-ul-Haq stepped down from the position amid conflict-of-interest allegations and in the wake of widespread changes in the set-up at the end of a below-par ODI World Cup campaign.
Wahab, who retired from international cricket in August this year, will get going in his new post ahead of the three-match Test series in Australia, to be played in December-January, which will be followed by a five-match T20I series in New Zealand in January. Though he hasn’t formally retired from franchise cricket, his PSL team, Peshawar Zalmi, posted a tweet on Friday thanking Wahab for his “exceptional services to the team”, adding, “thank you for your countless contributions over the past 8 years and you will always remain an integral part of Zalmi family”.

The other members of the selection panel have not been named yet.

“The [PCB’s] decision to involve former players in cricketing matters is commendable and I am willing to work for the betterment of Pakistan cricket,” Wahab said in a board statement. “Heading a selection committee is a challenging task. We have a significant Australia tour coming up that is part of the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 cycle and a T20I series against New Zealand that will allow us to develop a formidable unit leading up to the ICC T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies in June next year.

“I have a good rapport with the Pakistan Men’s Team Director Mohammad Hafeez and we will be working closely for the success of Pakistan cricket. My primary goal would be to give weightage to the top performers in domestic cricket and announce well-rounded squads equipped with the necessary skillsets. I will always be available to the players for feedback and advice.”

The position of chief selector became vacant when Inzamam resigned on October 30, when the World Cup was still on and Pakistan were still in contention for a semi-final spot, following uncomfortable questions around a possible conflict-of-interest situation.

Reports in sections of the Pakistan media said that Inzamam was an active director in a UK-based company, Yazoo International Ltd, of which a gentleman called Talha Rehmani was also a director; Rehmani is also managing director of a company called Saya Corporation, which represents many prominent Pakistani cricketers, including Babar Azam, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Rizwan. According to gov.uk, a UK government public sector information website, Rizwan is also a director at Yazoo alongside Inzamam. The company secretary is Intisar-ul-Haq, Inzamam’s brother.

Inzamam became a director in the company in question on December 7, 2020, and when he was announced as Pakistan’s chief selector earlier this year, his involvement with the company was not made public.

Pakistan formally exited the World Cup on November 11 after losing their last league-phase game to England in Kolkata, and Babar Azam resigned as Pakistan’s captain from all three formats on November 15. Shan Masood and Afridi were subsequently named captains of the Test and T20I formats respectively, while no ODI captain was named since Pakistan’s next engagement in that format is some way away.

The ICC’s future tours programme doesn’t have an ODI listed for Pakistan for a year – their next fixtures in the format are in a series of three games scheduled in Australia in November 2024.

Hafeez, meanwhile, has been named the Pakistan team director, replacing Mickey Arthur, and has been given the additional responsibility of being the team’s head coach in a temporary capacity for the tours of Australia and New Zealand.
Sohail Tanvir, meanwhile, was announced as the head of the junior selection committee. Its first task will be the selection of the Pakistan Under-19 squad for the Asia Under-19 Cup, to be played between December 8 and December 17. It will be followed by the ICC Under-19 World Cup, which will be held in Sri Lanka from January 13 to February 4.

“I am truly honoured and grateful for the opportunity provided by Chairman PCB Management Committee Mr Zaka Ashraf,” Tanvir said. “I believe in the potential of our young talent and we collaboratively aim to build a pathway for success from the grassroots to the international level.”

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