Inzamam decides to step down as chief selector
"I have done my best as chief selector for the betterment of Pakistan cricket and I have decided to resign after expiry of my contract with Pakistan Cricket Board," he told a news conference here on Wednesday at Qaddafi Stadium.
Inzamam's decision came as no surprise after Pakistan team's failure to qualify for the semi finals of the recently concluded ICC World Cup in England. The team was tied with New Zealand with 11 points, but did not qualify for the final due to lower net runs rate.
Inzamam was appointed chief selector in April 2016. During his time, the Pakistan cricket team peaked to No1 in the ICC Test rankings in August 2016, won the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and topped the T201 rankings for the first time in November 2017.
Pakistan have been sitting on top of the T20I tree since January 2018. Inzamam's last assignment was the selection of the Pakistan cricket team for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 where the 1992 champions missed out on a semi-final spot on net runs-rate after starting the tournament ranked seventh. The Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side finished with 11 points (five wins, three defeats, and one no-result) but failed to progress to the semi-finals due to a poorer net runs-rate.
Pakistan are presently ranked sixth in ODIs and seventh in Tests. Inzamam-ul-Haq said, "After more than three years as Chair of the Pakistan Men's Selection Committee, I have decided not to seek a renewal of my contract. With the ICC World Test Championship, due to get underway in September, the ICC T20 World Cup in 2020 and the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023, I believe it is the right time for the Pakistan Cricket Board to appoint a new chief selector who can bring new ideas and fresh thinking."
"I realised that I did all I could and will resign after my tenure is up by the end of next month," he added.
To a question the outdoing chief selector said he was satisfied with the Pakistan team's performance at the World Cup, telling that luck did not go their way.
"The Pakistan cricket team has come a long way since the departures of stalwarts like Misbah-ul-Haq and Younus Khan in May 2017 and is now destined for improved results as the youngsters have grown in experience and stature. They are now ready to excel and perform consistently across the three formats," he said.
During Inzamam's tenure, players such as Fakhar Zaman, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Abbas, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Usman Shinwari made their international debuts, while Babar Azam rose to prominence as Pakistan’s batting mainstay across all three formats.
Inzamam said, "It has been a pleasure to see these players grow and make names for themselves in international cricket. I will follow their progress with interest because I firmly believe these players have all the ingredients to take the Pakistan cricket team to greater heights."
"The team could have performed better during my time than the results reflect and I may have inadvertently overlooked some potentially deserving players, but I have always had the best interests of Pakistan cricket foremost in my heart. I hope the passionate Pakistan cricket fans will understand and can see this in my decisions," said the former batsman adding "I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow selectors, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, as well as captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and coach Mickey Arthur.
I think we worked very well as a group, stayed together in difficult times, and continued to collectively move in the same direction."
Replying to a question, Inzamam said, "I wish the new chief of the selection committee and the Pakistan cricket teams all the best in what will be exciting but competitive times in international cricket."
Inzamam said he would be willing to work in another post for the Pakistan Cricket Board as long as it did not pertain to the selection process. "Cricket is my passion but I do not want to be part of the selection process."
Inzamam-ul-Haq defended his decision to include senior players Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik who did not perform during the tournament.
"Both these players (Hafeez, Malik) had played well for Pakistan in the last two years," he said adding "Unfortunately we lost the opening match and it was difficult for them to make up the runs rate in later matches."
The outgoing chief selector said, "I spoke to PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani and Managing Director Wasim Khan on Monday and conveyed my decision to them separately. I also thanked them for backing and supporting the selection committee since taking over the reins of Pakistan cricket."
Meanwhile, PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani paid tribute to Inzamam-ul-Haq, "Inzamam is one of the icons of Pakistan cricket who has served his country passionately both as a player and as a Chief Selector. During his tenure as Chief Selector, we have seen the emergence of many talented young cricketers."
"I would like to thank Inzamam for the leadership he provided to the group and the cricket knowledge he brought to one of the most critical roles in cricket," added Ehsan Mani.
PCB Managing Director Wasim Khan said, "Inzamam leaves behind a legacy on which Pakistan cricket can thrive. We wish him all the best and I have no doubt that he will continue to contribute to Pakistan cricket in the future."
"As part of our commitment to transparency and professionalism, PCB will advertise the chief selector's role and will carry out a thorough recruitment process. We look forward to appointing Inzamam's successor in the coming weeks," he asserted.