Wasim Khan, the managing director of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has said the cricket committee will not rush into any decisions based on knee-jerk reactions when it meets on Friday.
The committee – which is led by Khan, includes former Test captains Misbah-ul-Haq and Wasim Akram and former women’s captain Urooj Mumtaz – will review the performances of the men’s, women’s, and U19 side’s over the past three years.
The most pressing issue, however, is regarding the future of Mickey Arthur, who is the head coach of Pakistan’s men’s side till 15 August, with the Pakistan side.
“We’ve got some tough decisions to make,” Khan told PTV Sports on Wednesday. “There can’t be any knee-jerk reactions because the decisions that we make are going to have an impact on the future of Pakistan cricket.
“We will make impartial decisions. But, what we will have to decide is whether we have someone better for the head coach’s role in the country. If not then do we bring someone from abroad or stick with the same person.”
The cricket committee, which will be submitting recommendations to the PCB chairman, will also decide on who will take the reins of the selection committee after Inzamam-ul-Haq decided against renewing his contract, which expired on 31 July. The composition of the selection panel, Khan revealed, might be different from the norm.
“We need to think outside the box,” he said. “We are exploring different options regarding the appointment of the selection committee. You don’t need to have a traditional selection committee with four guys working under a chair and going out to have a look at the players. We can use our six provincial coaches as eyes for the chief selector. Those coaches can be asked to write reports on the opposition team and let the chair know if he has come across someone who needs to be kept on the radar.”
Khan also mentioned that the board planned to send top-performing players to Australia and England ahead of the tours. Pakistan play Australia down under later this year in a two-match Test series. They tour England in the English summer next year.
“We get caught short when we tour Australia. To address it we are sending our batsmen earlier to Australia to prepare for the series. We are planning 12 months ahead of our tours.
“We are planning to send our top-three four players for county cricket ahead of our Test series against England in England next year. So when the series arrives, these guys are ready. We will look to provide them to the counties on a subsidy. But, this is the investment that we will have to make for Pakistan cricket.”
The investment, however, will not only be limited to the senior men’s side as the board is also laying down plans to send domestic umpires, coaches, and age-group cricketers to England and Australia – on various exchange programmes.
The upcoming domestic season, which will commence mid-September, will see the introduction of yet another new structure with six provincial sides playing the first-class cricket. The board claims that the new structure will help in bridging the ever-widening gap between domestic and international cricket.
The PCB is said to be switching to the use of Kookaburra balls in the first-class and List ‘A’ cricket since it uses that brand for the international homes series.
“We want red-ball cricket to matter,” Khan said. “A health check of the nation is how they perform in Test cricket. The Test championship is beginning for us in September and we want to be in the final. But we need to work hard for that. Our performances right now are ordinary.
The new domestic system, Khan said, is ready to be rolled out, but only awaited the final approval of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who happens to be the PCB’s Patron-in-Chief as per the board’s constitution.
“We are waiting for the PM to approve the constitution and as soon as he approves it we are going to roll it out. We will have six provincial teams playing the first-class cricket, which means top 66 players featuring in the format. There will be a second XI sitting underneath it. Cities, which will have clubs below them, will feed the provinces.
“We will have six high-performance centres in all provinces where there will be nutritionist, psychologist, physical trainers, and coaches who will emulate what is being practised at the international level.
“We are also looking to enhance the quality of wickets. If your wickets aren’t great, no matter how much training you do, we are not going to get great players. We have had 25 scores of under 100 in the past two seasons.”
To be in contention for the selection for the home Tests against Sri Lanka, Pakistan Test players in the likes of Azhar Ali and Babar Azam will have to return from the country to feature in the first-class cricket.
“We have had one or two players who are playing first-class cricket in England requesting whether they could stay. We have told them that they have to come and play in the new system to be in contention for the Sri Lanka Tests.”
Chief executives of the Australian and English cricket boards will be touring Pakistan – in September and October respectively – to discuss the possibilities of their senior sides travelling to the country over the next two-three years, Khan revealed.
A security delegation from the Sri Lankan cricket board will travel to Lahore and Karachi – which the PCB has put forward to their Sri Lankan counterparts as the potential venues for the two-match Test series in October.
Khan will also be presenting to the prestigious MCC governing body this month regarding the security situation in the country. “Kumar [Sangakkara] said to me at Lord’s that we are going to try to get an MCC tour to Pakistan. We have put in a lot of efforts to make all this happen.
“Pakistan is not hosting Australia and England for the next two-three years, but still their high-powered delegations are coming which speaks volumes of the work we have done behind the scenes.
“What is being done is going to take some time and people have got to realise that. You start from A and finish at Z. But a lot of people don’t realise that you have to go through B, C, D and so on. I cannot change things in six months. Nobody can.”