- Inzamam’s resignation not accepted by PCB: Aalia Rasheed.
- Media head says Mohammad Rizwan not part of probe.
- PCB to take up India matter with ICC in future.
The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) of Media and Communications, Aalia Rasheed, said that Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq had the responsibility to inform the cricket body about any potential conflict of interest.
“I think it was Inzamam’s responsibility to inform the PCB about any potential conflict of interest. No cricket board wants to create controversy during a World Cup and get ridiculed in the media,” said Rasheed while speaking to Geo News on Tuesday.
Inzamam recently stepped down from his post amid the World Cup 2023 after allegations surfaced that he was a partner in a company, Yazoo International Ltd, owned by players’ agent Talha Rehmani.
This disclosure sparked concerns regarding potential conflicts of interest, given that Rehmani represents several of Pakistan’s leading cricketers, including Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, and Shaheen Shah Afridi.
The allegations also gave rise to the question of whether Inzamam’s dual role would influence his decisions of selection of the players. Following the claims, PCB set up a five-member fact-finding committee to investigate allegations in respect of conflict of interest about the team selection process.
‘No need for Inzamam to resign’
Rasheed further said that Inzamam did not have to resign as the PCB had to take some steps and address the issue considering it was a sensitive matter.
“I don’t understand why Inzamam resigned. He should have realised that the PCB had to take some steps to address the controversy because it was a sensitive matter. PCB took immediate action like a professional organisation and formed a fact-finding committee to assess whether there was a conflict of interest but it didn’t remove Inzamam as chief selector.
“If the players and Inzamam’s agent are the same, then there is a conflict of interest. He can also influence a lot of players. It also gives too much power to one agent.
“I had a detailed meeting with Inzamam as well and even the chairman called him for a meeting. There was no need for him to step down but he resigned instantly as soon as PCB announced the committee. However, his resignation is not accepted and Inzamam can resume working for PCB if the committee clears him.”
Rizwan not part of probe
The media head also clarified that wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan — who is also a director at the UK-based company — is not part of the investigation against Inzamam in the conflict of interest case.
Rizwan’s dual role also raised question marks over the wicketkeeper’s future. However, he is not part of the investigation.
“Rizwan is not involved in this matter at all because a player has a limited career and they need to invest the money they earn to be financially stable after their playing days are over. Even Inzamam would not have been questioned if he was not the chief selector,” said Aalia.
“I was a member of the committee as well but I think it was not appropriate for me to get involved in this matter since I have to face the media as well,” she added.
Interim chief selector to be named for Australia series
Speaking about the upcoming Australia series next month, Rasheed said that one of the members of the existing selection committee, Tauseef Ahmed, Wajahatullah Wasti and Wasim Haider, will be named interim chief selector.
“Initially, we thought that the committee would submit its findings soon but that is no longer the case since the legal, audit and finance departments are also involved so it will take some time because we come to a decision,” she said.
“We have a series against Australia coming up and a team needs to be announced for that tour. So one of the members of the selection committee, which already exists, will be given this responsibility until the committee submits its recommendations. After that we will decide whether to continue with Inzamam or appoint a new selector,” she said.
Aalia also backed the work done by the chairman of the PCB Management Committee, Zaka Ashraf.
“The problem with Zaka Ashraf is that he is not a showman. He doesn’t focus too much on PR. He only focuses on his work silently. I think some of the things that he has done should be highlighted in the media because the perception of him is wrong. There are some misconceptions which need clarity,” she said.
India ‘very unwelcoming’ in World Cup
She also opened up about the visa issues faced by Pakistani fans and journalists during the ongoing ICC World Cup 2023, which has denied many the experience of watching the mega event in India.
“Even I have not got my visa till now. This is not an issue created by the Pakistan Cricket Board and even the ICC can’t do anything about it because this was entirely in the hands of the Indian government. They were very cautious and unwelcoming in a way and even sent our renowned presenter Zainab Abbas back home,” she said.
“However, bearing in mind India’s policies, the PCB will take up the matter with the ICC in the future to resolve this issue,” she added.
Babar Azam’s WhatsApp text controversy
Aalia also shed light on the controversy surrounding the press release issued by the PCB, which led many fans to think that the board threw the players under the bus, after the team’s poor performance in the World Cup.
“When the team didn’t do well, there was pressure on the chairman from all corners which revolved around making changes in the team and removing Babar Azam from captaincy. In response, that press release was issued to support the team but that doesn’t mean that board is stepping away from its responsibilities,” she said.
She also admitted that it was wrong to air a private WhatsApp chat between Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and PCB Chief Executive Officer (COO) Salman Naseer.
“I’m glad that the channel and its anchor apologised for that incident but this should not have happened especially because it affects the players. When a tournament like the World Cup is taking place, such things get multiplied and become a bigger issue than it is,” she concluded.