ISLAMABAD   -  Former Pakistan cricketer Jalal-ud-Din has lashed out at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for appointing inexperienced Misbah-ul-Haq as head coach-cum-chief selector.

In an exclusive interview with The Nation on Wednesday, Jalal, who had played six Tests and eight ODIs from 1982 to 1985, said: “It is very unfortunate that the PCB always appointed unprofessional persons in high-profile roles. That is why Pakistan cricket is suffering since long.”

When asked that whether he had withdrawn his nomination for the national cricket team’s bowling coach in favour of Waqar Younis, Jalal replied:”No it is a blunt lie, as the PCB never considered my application. People sitting in the National Cricket Academy (NCA) since long are actually responsible for the debacle. I am surprised that competent coaches were sent home, while near and dear ones, who had no experience of coaching even at national level, were given important assignments on high salaries.”

Jalal, who was the first player to take a hat-trick in ODI cricket, further said: “Prime Minister Imran Khan had just directed the PCB for six-team system in the first class cricket, but inexperienced persons in the PCB never argued, as they were lacking courage to debate on its consequences and impact on professional cricketers. Now thousands of cricketers, coaches and officials are jobless. Had the PCB officials properly briefed the PM, I know the PM would have implemented his plans slowly, rather than completely shutting down departmental cricket.

People, who had dubious past, are being given important roles. The terrible performance of Pakistan U-19 team in the recently concluded U-19 Asia Cup was more than enough to open the eyes of the PCB. But the governing board is sleeping, showering countless benefits to near and dear ones, and professional coaches are sitting at home.”

“If the PCB had already decided to hire their near and dear ones, why they gave advertisement? If they wanted to hire inexperienced Misbah, why three-year experience was mentioned in the ad? The PCB should have first assessed his performance by assigning a role in the first class cricket before hiring him for such an important task. Good players were ignored in the first class cricket, while players from certain areas and former departments were picked up,” he added.

When asked that whether ignoring the Diamond Cricket Ground (DCG) and other grounds in the twin cities from hosting first class matches is a kind of political victimisation, Jalal replied: “No I do not think it is victimisation. It is sad that the pitches of the DCG, which are bouncy, and other grounds of the twin cities were ignored. We had witnessed in the past that more than 60 percent of domestic cricket was played in the twin cities. But the PCB had other plans.”

He further said: “Pakistan cricket is facing highly crucial phase. It is the high time and the PM must interfere, as he is the only ray of hope left for the local cricketers. I do not think the less-team system is going to help Pakistan cricket. We have witnessed in the first round of first class matches that the fast bowlers failed to make any impact, as Pakistani tracks are mostly outdated.”

“What are the reasons for inviting nonprofessional players to the camp for Sri Lankan team? It is a simple question, which I think the PCB and Misbah have to answer. It was a golden opportunity for the governing board to provide exposure to emerging players, as only winning and improving T20 rankings will not help the national cricket team and the PCB. Pakistan cricket will suffer more in the coming days, as the national team will have to play some high-profile series against tough opponents. Misbah would also be badly exposed. If the PM will not interfere and provide justice to the players, then sufferings of Pakistan cricket will continue. And no one else, but the PCB will be held responsible for the outcomes,” Jalal concluded.