ISLAMABAD - Former Pakistan cricket team fast bowler and inventor of reverse swing Sarfraz Nawaz has questioned senior players’ decision not to play in Pentangular Cup.

“It is quite astonishing that players had decided to take rest rather than featuring in the event. Only injured players should have been given omission as it was ideal time for the PCB and the panel of selectors to select best available 15-players squad for the coming World Cup.”

Talking exclusively with The Nation from UK on Wednesday, he said removing Moin Khan from manager’s post was a very good and brave step taken by PCB chairman Shahryar Khan which shows his reading of the situation and handling affairs. “It was well-known to each and everyone that Moin always forced his selection and not ready to listen to even head coach or captain Misbahul Haq for the final selection and overall atmosphere of the dressing room was not ideal during the recently concluded UAE series against New Zealand.”

Sarfraz said he strongly believed that head coach Waqar and skipper Misbah should sit with chief selector Moin before finalising 15-member World Cup bound-squad and suggested that manager Naveed Akram Cheema should also sit in the meeting as special observer of the PCB chairman and informed him about the entire selection criteria. He said he strongly oppose sending Moin with the team during the World Cup as chief selector as his presence in the dressing room would hurt Pakistan team’s chances and peace of dressing room would be badly disturbed. “Moin should stay away from the team. He must perform his role of finalising the squad with the help of head coach and skipper. Rather than enjoying free-rides, he has nothing to do with the team in Australia and New Zealand.”

Sarfraz said losing Saeed Ajmal for the mega event had weakened Pakistan strength. “He was the pillar of Pakistan bowling attack and for the last several years he was shouldering lime share of bowling burden and helping the team. Now Pakistan team would find it really difficult to cope with this loss. Another thing which is disturbing the balance of the team is the uncertainty surrounding Hafeez' future as he is subjected to clear his bowling action. If Hafeez fails to clear the test, it would be body blow for Pakistan's ambitions of getting desired results in World Cup. Hafeez is handy with the ball and has vast experience of not only playing at Australian and New Zealand wickets but also has taken quite healthy wickets too.”

He said instead of relying on part-timers in the World Cup Pakistani selectors must pick genuine all-rounders. “Pakistan are in dire need of a quality all-rounder who could hit some lusty blows at any given stage and also bowl few quality overs as well. Getting favorable results from part-time bowlers at UAE’s slow and supportive tracks was a different thing and thinking about playing with one bowler short in Australian and New Zealand conditions would be more than a cricketing suicide. Australian tracks are known for bounce and extra pace while same is the condition in New Zealand. Pakistan would badly suffer if they decide to enter the matches with part-timers and include an extra batsman. Selectors must use commonsense before finalising the squad.” He said there were few areas where the PCB panel of selectors had to give special attention and instead of selecting players on past reputation or personal affiliation, only criteria must be merit.