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Inzamam to guide Pakistan to new era

Inzamam-ul-Haq, pictured here being saluted on his retirement, now takes on an off-field role with the PCB
Inzamam-ul-Haq, pictured here being saluted on his retirement, now takes on an off-field role with the PCB
©REUTERS / Action Images
Jibran Khan Niazi, pictured here with Sadia Yousuf
Jibran Khan Niazi, pictured here with Sadia Yousuf
©Jibran Khan Niazi

Inzamam-ul-Haq now has an important task in front of him as the newly-appointed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Selector following disappointing Asia Cup and World T20 performances.

Although he excelled in charge of the rapidly developing Afghanistan team, the question is now whether he can carry out his responsibilities with confidence and the support of the PCB, as Chief selector?

The news yesterday that the selectors have dropped Shahid Afridi, Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal from the squad suggests a new era has begun.

His cricketing pedigree can hardly be questioned - he was part of  Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup-winning team in Australia, a former captain and scored more runs than anybody for his country bar Javed Miandad, before retiring in 2007.

For now, he enjoys the support of high-profile former cricketers; however, his challenges remain clear:

  • Can he resist political pressure that will be surely be put upon him?
  • Will he succeed in discovering genuine talent from across all of Pakistan or rely on those players already in and around the squads?
  • Can he develop unity, confidence, tolerance and cohesion among the players?

Analysing Inzamam as a person and a cricketer, I can say he is devoted and his experience and ability as cricketer is second to none.

However, there may be problems ahead for him - from the fans, media and even from some quarters of the team as well – he will (and he will have to) make some difficult and unpopular decisions.

My view is that Inzamam will overcome the challenges and where he will definitely succeed, is in building dependable cricket teams.

He will have to travel to the out reaches of Pakistan cricket to places like Sargodha and Mianwali, about which Imran Khan said: "We have to focus for tracing hidden talent in Mianwali and Sargodha and Peshawar as they are hard workers and can help Pakistan."

Inzamam, a veteran of 120 Tests and 398 ODIs, named former cricketers Tauseef Ahmed, Wasim Haider and Wajahatullah Wasti as a part of the new selection committee and has said from the outset that he does not expect results overnight.

If he can instill discipline into the team, face the pressure and not succumb to any opportunists, find talent at grass roots level, then he will definitely usher in a new golden era for Pakistan.

When I met recently with Sadia Yousuf, a left-arm spinner who recently starred at the Women’s World T20 event in India, she was optimistic about Inzamam developing "a great Pakistan squad in all three formats of the game".

© Cricket World 2016