LAHORE - Former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq has decided to step down as a chief selector of Pakistan cricket team, after his contract expires on July 31. Inzamam was appointed in August 2016 and has decided not to renew his contract. “After more than three years as Pakistan men’s selection committee chairman, I have decided not to seek a renewal of my contract,” said Inzamam while addressing the press conference here at Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday.

“I spoke to PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani and Managing Director Wasim Khan on Monday and conveyed my decision to them separately. I also thanked them for backing and supporting the selection committee since taking over the reins of Pakistan cricket,” he added.

He wished the new chief of the selection committee and the Pakistan cricket team all the best in what will be exciting but competitive times in international cricket. “With the ICC World Test Championship due to get underway in September and the ICC T20 World Cup in 2020 and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, I believe it is the right time for the PCB to appoint a new chief selector, who can bring new ideas and fresh thinking.

He said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow selectors, who worked tireless behind the scenes, as well as captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and coach Mickey Arthur. I think we worked very well as a group, stayed together in difficult times, and continued to collectively move in the same direction.

“Pakistan cricket team has come a long way since the departures of stalwarts like Misbah-ul-Haq and Younus Khan in May 2017 and is now destined for improved results as the youngsters have grown in experience and stature. They are now ready to excel and perform consistently across the three formats.  “It has been a pleasure to see these players grow and make names for themselves in international cricket. I will follow their progress with interest because I firmly believe these players have all the ingredients to take the Pakistan cricket team to greater heights,” he added.

Inzamam also showed his willingness to work with the Pakistan Cricket Board in another role. “I am a cricketer, it is my bread and butter but I do not want to be part of the selection process. If the board offers me another role, apart from selection, I would consider it.” He, however, said that the board has not made him any offer as yet.

He had mixed feelings about the team’s performance, which finished fifth in the recently-concluded World Cup. “Pakistan team defeated two finalists and won four matches, but it remained unlucky by not qualifying for the semifinals due to net run-rate. A lot of senior cricketers and analysts also had criticised the net run rate rule.”

He said: “The team could have performed better during my time than the results reflect and I may have inadvertently overlooked some potentially deserving players, but I have always had the best interests of Pakistan cricket foremost in my heart. I hope the passionate Pakistan cricket fans will understand and can see this in my decisions,” he said.

Replying to a query regarding team selection, Inzamam said it was done with the consensus of the coach and captain. “The final squad is selected by the selection committee with advice from the coach and team captain. But the 11 players, who play in the team, are decided by the captain and coach; they can take the selector’s advice but the decision is theirs.”

To another query regarding future of his nephew Imam-ul-Haq in the team, he said: “It is a critical matter for both Imam and me. If you remember, he was selected for the Under-19 team in 2012, when I was not a selector. He has been playing well with an average of 50, so he should get the same regard as other players. Batting coach Grant Flower came to me and said Imam should be in the team while head coach Mickey Arthur also said the same. I sidelined myself when it came to Imam’s selection. Please look at his performance and don’t get personal, this is my request to you all.”

About veteran Shoaib Malik, the outgoing chief selector said: “Shoaib Malik has played for us for a long time; it happens sometimes that the player selected does not perform — it does not mean the selection was wrong or the player is bad. Twenty youngsters are playing right now and it seems like they will play for Pakistan for the next 15-20 years and will win victories.”

When Inzamam was asked who should be new captain of Pakistan team, he said that he believed the captain, once selected, should be given full support and confidence as he has to motivate and lead the team.”