Does Inzamamul Haq hold the key to solve Pakistan’s cricket crisis?

Published: April 26, 2016
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Inzamam-ul-Haq is returning to Pakistan to take up a role as selector. PHOTO: REUTERS

Each time Pakistan faces an early exit in a major event like the recently concluded T20 World Cup, there are drastic steps bound to be taken by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) as a gesture of concern from them as well. Whether these changes are effective or not is a whole different story but as of now, Haroon Rasheed has been sacked and replaced by Inzamamul Haq as the chief selector. Even though some of the problems at hand might be beyond Inzamam’s reach, it is still a step in the right direction.

Inzamam at the PCB batting grounds
Photo: AFP

It is too early to establish if Inzamam’s inclusion will help put Pakistan’s cricket on the right track again, as he needs to be given time to judge his performance in this new role. As Inzamam mentioned himself,

“I don’t have a magic wand.”

Hence let’s not get carried away and build false expectations of seeing results the next day he takes office. A chief selector’s role is somewhat similar to investing in education; it takes time and effort to produce the end product that may come in the shape of the next Javed Miandad.

For now, we can only analyse Inzamam’s credentials for the job and predict the chances of him succeeding. Inzamam retired nine years ago and if that sounds like a long time – let’s not forget Haroon Rasheed, the recently sacked chief selector, who had last played a game in 1983. Cricket has evolved over the years and therefore Inzamam’s recent experience favours his chances of performing better as the chief selector with more knowledge of modern cricket.

Inzamam-ul-Haq; one of Pakistan’s greatest batsmen
Photo: AFP

Secondly, Inzamam has had a far more prolific year as a batsman; hence it makes a lot more sense to put the responsibility of spotting raw talent on his shoulders as compared to someone like Haroon Rasheed, who only managed to play 12 ODI’s himself. Inzamam has also captained Pakistan’s team and therefore his willingness to take the captain’s opinion in his decisions when selecting a team is yet another positive indicator.

However, as mentioned earlier, Inzamam is not the golden key for countless issues that run within PCB. In order for a doctor to operate on a patient he needs the right equipment. Even though PCB might have found the right doctor to cure their batting crisis, they must ensure that they provide him with a well-functioning domestic league, so he is able to spot the right talent. While Pakistan Super League (PSL) might sound fun and exciting, it is not the answer; we need a functioning competitive domestic league that produces batsmen with technique and not just the ability to hit a few handsome sixes.

Inzamam has helped Afghanistan become one of the most promising sides in the shortest format of the game.
Photo: AFP

Despite Inzamam’s batting credentials and an impressive run as the coach of an aspiring Afghan team, a common fear shared among the fans is his tendency to mix religion with sports. Pakistan has long been a victim of political influence that has harmed our nation’s cricket and if that was not enough, Inzamam’s inclusion may add further religious hurdles into the already flawed system.  If Inzamam lets his religious opinions be a factor in his decision making process, then we will certainly see practicing Muslims playing in the field, however they may not necessarily be the most deserving ones.

Pakistan’s next major tour is against England and so is Inzamam’s first test as the chief selector. Just like any other fan of Pakistan cricket, I sincerely hope Inzamam succeeds in his new role. Otherwise, he might be the next victim of PCB’s drastic changes strategy after a series of tragic defeats.

Hamza Junaid

Hamza Junaid

The author is from Islamabad, Pakistan. Currently an International student at Baruch College in New York. Playing cricket is one of his favorite hobbies and he plays for a team called Gladiators in New York.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.