Former selector slams selection of Iqbal
"Selectors Should Have opted for Youth over Tried and Tested Failures":Salahuddin Sallu
By Anum Rehman
Following success in the Asia Cup, Pakistan team will now tour Sri Lanka after a much needed break, starting in June 2012. This series will include 2 T20s, 5 ODIs and 3 Tests and the selection committee - headed by Chief Selector Iqbal Qasim - has announced three teams for each format. In terms of the personnel involved, the teams feature a new T20 Captain in the shape of Mohammed Hafeez as well as a mixture of youth and experience with some players making a comeback after relatively long periods.
PakPassion.net caught up with the former PCB Chief Selector Salahuddin Sallu for his exclusive insight on the thoughts behind the selections as well the choice of the new T20 Captain.
Although the appointment of a new captain for the T20 team can be seen as a forward-looking approach, other selections have raised valid questions which potentially negate the progressive nature of these decisions. Faisal Iqbal, the 30 year-old batsman has been chosen for the Test squad based on his recent domestic performances. He makes a comeback into the Pakistan squad after an absence of almost 2 years. Similarly, Imran Farhat, made his last appearance for Pakistan in the summer of 2010. Their inclusion doesn’t sit well with Sallu who feels that both players have had their chances and the selectors need to look further.
“Even in my time [as part of the selection committee] these players have been utilized a lot already and been given ample opportunities. Both Imran Farhat and Faisal Iqbal have received many chances to impress selectors. It will be better if they [the selectors] bring in more youngsters who can be a part of Pakistan's future. The selectors should have opted for youth over tried and tested failures"
The recent selection announcement has also seen the emergence of three separate keepers for each format - Shakeel Ansar for T20s, Sarfraz Ahmed for ODIs and Adnan Akmal for Tests. However, Sallu felt that there were too many wicketkeepers.
"Sarfraz Ahmed should be in the Twenty20 and ODI format. Look, he is a natural keeper. Among the Akmal brothers, Adnan Akmal is the best. Sometimes they play Umar Akmal as a keeper, which not only results in mistreating Umar but also the keeper he replaces. Sarfraz Ahmed is excellent in my opinion as he uses his feet."
Apart from the introduction of 3 wicketkeepers, some have questioned the exclusion of Umar Akmal from the Test side. Touted as being highly able and talented, Umar Akmal, while considered pleasing to watch, has also received criticism for showing a lack of application with the bat. Sallu, while acknowledging Umar Akmal's immense capabilities was of the same view.
"Umar Akmal is a very talented chap, much like the amount of ability that Shahid Afridi, Imran Nazir or Ahmed Shehzad possess. He is okay for Twenty20 and ODI games however, for Test cricket, you need dedication, concentration and application. He doesn't have the 'application' component as he cannot stay at the wicket. A player in this format must have concentration and application, it is extremely important."
Prior to the squad selection for the Sri Lanka tour, a lot of talk was generated regarding the T20 captaincy role with names such as Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi being used apart from Mohammad Hafeez. Salahuddin Sallu’s personal preference is for the appointment of Shahid Afridi whom he considers as an able captain with good leadership qualities
"There was talk that Shahid Afridi should be given captaincy. Afridi is a player of such caliber, that he was Man of the Match in the T20 World Cup semi final and final, and then in the quarter final match he got 4 wickets.”
“When Younis Khan was not captain anymore, Afridi took over and got that team together in trying circumstances. He had very limited resources and didn't even have a proper team - with that Afridi was able to take the team to the semi final of ICC World Cup. If our batsmen had played sensibly, it could've been a different outcome. Now, you are not giving this boy the captaincy role? He is recognized all over the world for his performances and is the sole player from Pakistan who has scored 5000 runs and also obtained 300 wickets."
Pakistan will begin the tour of Sri Lanka with a T20 match at the Hambantota stadium, on June 1st 2012. While the tour to Sri Lanka gives an opportunity to many youngsters (such as Rahat Ali, Raza Hasan, etc) to make a mark, Sallu believes that the youngsters need to show skills and determination to stay in the team for a longer period of time
"It's easier to find a place in the team, but harder to maintain your position. The players who can maintain themselves in the team, they are able to reach a status after some time."