The first meeting of the PCB Cricket Committee of the year took place in Lahore under the chairmanship of former wicketkeeper, Saleem Yousuf. Umar Gul and Wasim Akram joined the session online, while Urooj Mumtaz attended the meeting at the Gaddafi Stadium. PCB Chief Executive, Wasim Khan, and Director – International Cricket, Zakir Khan, also participated as ex-officio members.
The committee analyzed and reviewed the performance of the Pakistan men’s national cricket team over the past 16 months during which the side played 10 Tests (won two and lost five), five ODIs (won four), and 17 T20Is (won seven and lost eight).
Pakistan head coach, Misbah-ul-Haq, and bowling coach, Waqar Younis, also attended the session upon special invitation and provided their feedback and input to the committee. Prior to their participation, newly-appointed chief selector, Muhammad Wasim, also briefed the committee on his selection policies.
While the PCB Cricket Committee expressed its dissatisfaction with the side’s performances, it acknowledged the fact that the team had competed in the unprecedented and challenging COVID-19 circumstances, which resulted in the absence of a few experienced players that, in turn, contributed towards the overall below-par performances.
The PCB Cricket Committee unanimously agreed that the backroom staff needed to provide absolute clarity on their collective strategy and approach so that they could be evaluated and assessed against those objectives at the next meeting.
The committee also recommended that the PCB should continue to support and back the team management, whilst suggesting that the next performance appraisal be conducted following the home series against South Africa.
PCB Cricket Committee Chairman, Saleem Yousuf, said:
The PCB Cricket Committee carried out a holistic but constructive, fact-based and objective review of the Pakistan men’s cricket team in the past 16 months. There is no denying the fact that we all want to see our side ranked amongst the top three or four cricket playing nations and our recent performances do justice with neither those expectations nor the talent we boast.
“Nevertheless, we also need to take into consideration a number of other factors and the committee was of the view that cricket during the COVID-19 pandemic was one of the biggest contributing factors in the side’s dismal performances. The challenges of playing in Covid-19 protocols have not only been faced by the Pakistan men’s national team but by all the sides presently involved in international cricket and these concerns have been regularly raised by the team coaches and elite cricketers.
“All professional and high-performing athletes require an environment where they can prepare their best for the international stage, which was not the case for the last two tours and most definitely not at the last tour where players had been confined to their rooms for two weeks due to the policies of that particular COVID-free country.
“As a consequence, Babar Azam, Imam-ul-Haq, and Shadab Khan were unavailable for Test selections after Fakhar Zaman had missed the flight on the day of the departure. These big losses affected the team combinations that, in turn, resulted in the side’s overall below-par performance against a side that remained unbeaten in the past two-and-a-half years.
“Notwithstanding these disadvantages, the PCB Cricket Committee strongly believes team selections and choice of players in the playing line-ups should have been made better.
“The committee also believes more scientific and data-based work needed to be done on the players with improved communication to not only prepare them for the bigger challenges but also identifying players who can back their performances with other capability trades in a high-competitive environment on a consistent basis.
“With the important home series against South Africa only two weeks away, the PCB Cricket Committee will conduct another review after the conclusion of the same. However, it has already been relayed to the team management that there will be no points for second place.”