Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former Pakistan skipper Rashid Latif has lashed out at chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq for resting captain Sarfraz Ahmed for the upcoming ODI series against Australia.
In addition to Sarfraz, Babar Azam, Shaheen Afridi, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali have also been rested for the series, which will get underway on March 22 in Sharjah.
Delving deeper into why he is irritated, Latif noted that Pakistan should be playing their full-strength squad since the World Cup in right around the corner.
“I fail to understand the logic presented by Inzamam. There is no such example witnessed in cricket-playing nations that a regular skipper, who is fully fit and who is very much an integral part of the team, [being] forced to sit out,” he told The Nation. “There is only the example of Virat Kohli, who was given rest but it was due to a very long season and he had played lot of Test matches and the Indian team had a number of options available unlike of Pakistan, who doesn’t have any other option.
“Sarfraz could have finalised the squad for the World Cup and his absence could cost Pakistan team dearly.
“He said Micky Arthur had said a few days back that he wanted to give rest to Babar Azam, Shahdab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, while Hussain Talat and Hafeez were out due to injury and lack of form but the highly notable exclusion in the name of rest is skipper Sarfraz, which I feel is a huge blunder as no team at this stage could risk resting their captain, who is leading the national team in all three formats.
“Had Sarfraz [spoken about being] overburdened and [needing] rest, even then, if I was at the helm of affairs I would have thought long and hard before deciding on his request.
“The Australian series is by no means light one. They will bring a tough side and almost all the players seen in action are vying for a slot for the national team in the World Cup.
“Pakistan’s team management on the other hand has decided to give rest to key players. I know Shaheen Shah Afridi, Fakhar and Shadab Khan are carrying injuries and it makes some sense of excluding them but their replacements are not easy at the moment as the Pakistan cricket team, I feel, is the only team who has yet to finalise the possible contenders for the World Cup-bound squad. The inclusion of fresh faces clearly indicates that the selectors are confused.”
Meanwhile, Latif admitted that he is glad uncapped seamer Mohammad Hasnain has been picked for the Australia series.
Hasnain has been one of the most talked about bowlers in the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL), where he has taken five wickets in four matches for the Quetta Gladiators at an average of 23.
“I support Hasnain’s inclusion and he should be given chances as well,” Latif said.