Disappointing exit from the T20 World Cup


LAHORE: 9 July 2024: Twenty former Pakistan Test players convened with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Mohsin Naqvi at a local hotel on Monday, offering several suggestions to rectify the national team's issues following their disappointing exit from the T20 World Cup last month. The meeting, initiated by Naqvi in response to Pakistan's unexpected loss to USA in their tournament opener, aimed to address the challenges plaguing cricket in the country.

While the discussion primarily focused on improving Pakistan's domestic cricket setup, the former players didn't hold back in expressing their discontent over the team's performance at the T20 World Cup. Criticism centered around team selection decisions rather than questioning Babar Azam's captaincy future, which was not deliberated during the session. Notable attendees included Intiqab Alam, Sadiq Mohammad, Iqbal Qasim, Haroon Rasheed, Salim Altaf, Sikandar Bakhat, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shafqat Rana, Rashid Khan, and Wajahatullah Wasti.

Concerns were raised over the squad's composition, particularly the inclusion of three spinners despite the World Cup being held in the West Indies and the USA. The exclusion of Abdullah Shafique and Salman Ali Agha in favor of Azam Khan and Usman Khan was also questioned. Among the proposals put forth was the formation of a national cricket committee that would include former Test players in the PCB's Board of Governors, currently devoid of any Test cricketers. Recommendations were also made to prioritize under-19 cricket development and provide youth teams access to top-tier coaching.

Structurally, the ex-players advocated for decentralizing domestic cricket operations, suggesting the PCB delegate more authority to regional bodies. This move, they argued, could alleviate the financial burden on the PCB and enhance the management of regional cricket.

Although the PCB sought input from the players regarding domestic cricket improvements, detailed plans such as the inclusion of 18 regional teams in this year's first-class cricket and the selection process for top performers were not extensively discussed during the meeting.

In parallel developments, PCB chief Naqvi had scheduled a late-night meeting with white-ball head coach Gary Kirsten and assistant coach Azhar Mahmood, both of whom arrived earlier in the day. Additionally, newly appointed Test coach Jason Gillespie was slated to meet with Naqvi later in the evening on Monday.

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