Central contracts list finalised; Inzamam snubbed

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

KARACHI: National selectors have ignored former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq while finalising a list of 30 players to be submitted today to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for issuance of central contracts.

Well-placed sources told ‘The News’ on Tuesday that the members of the national selection committee have reached a consensus on the list of players to be recommended for new central contracts. They have decided against recommending Inzamam for a central contract but have opted to keep in the list all other leading national cricketers who were previously given contracts by the PCB.

Sources said that the selectors have snubbed Inzamam mainly because they do not think that the 37-year-old batsman is valuable for the Pakistan team any more.

However, the official reason to be given for his omission would be the fact that Inzamam is only available to play Tests following his decision to retire from ODIs.

Inzamam was at the helm of Pakistan’s disastrous World Cup campaign this March when they crashed out of the 16-nation spectacle following defeats against the West Indies and underdogs Ireland. The Multan-born player resigned as Pakistan captain and also announced quitting ODI cricket following the debacle.

Sources said that the Board has given clear instructions to the national committee that is headed by former Test cricketer Salahuddin Ahmed to only consider players who are available for national duty both for Tests and one-dayers.

Inzamam, who has 8813 runs from 119 Tests and is one of the highest run-getters in ODI cricket (11739 runs from 378 games), fell out of favour with top PCB officials following the World Cup disappointment and was later singled out as the chief villain behind the disaster by a probe committee appointed by the Board.

The selectors were asked by the Board to submit a list of 30 players whom they believe should get central contracts.

The PCB officials will discuss this week the list to be submitted by the national selection committee and will later award central contracts to 20 players. The contracts will come into effect from July 1.

A new pay formula, which the PCB official say would reward performance more than seniority was approved by the Board’s ad-hoc committee in Bhurban last week.

The PCB suspended the previous contracts following Pakistan’s first-round exit from the World Cup in the Caribbean.

Sources said that the selectors have included several young players in the list including talented all-rounder Fawad Alam and pacers Najaf Shah, Abdul Rauf and Mohammad Irshad. Second string players like batsmen Hassan Raza and Asim Kamal have also been recommended.
The selection committee that also includes former Test cricketers Shafqat Rana and Saleem Jaffar has also included discarded Test opener Imran Farhat in the list.

The left-handed batsman was fined by the Board last month over misconduct. Imran had an argument with the chief selector after he was dropped from the Pakistan squad for a three-match series against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi.

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