ISLAMABAD    -     Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif has claimed that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) lacks direction and has no plan regarding selection of the team and captain.

Talking to The Nation on Tuesday, Latif said: “Misbah should have given chances to youngsters in the Sri Lankan home series, which would have helped Pakistan cricket and they would have found talented fresh blood. Fielding young guns against Australia and that too at their own backyard will create lot of problems for Misbah and player but it is quite unique when it comes to Pakistan cricket.

“The PCB and their think-tank don’t have any planning or any future in mind regarding selecting the team or a captain. They should have named Azhar red-ball captain in domestic cricket and Babar should have been leading white-ball team,” he added.

He said: “Same is the case is in awarding central contracts as Sarfraz Ahmed was given A category for the entire year. When the PCB high-ups had made up their minds to sack Sarfraz as captain and also shown him the doors from all the three formats, why he was given A category. The central contract is for entire year, not for a series.

“I am a strong advocate of providing opportunities to the youngsters, but at a time, three rookies were selected in Pakistan touring party for tough Aussie tour. While Musa, Naseem and Shaheen Shah have all injury-prone careers, it is yet to be seen whether they are capable of bowling longer spells. It means in the Test matches, besides M Abbas, two youngsters are going to play for the national team.

“Naseem is also an exciting future prospect, but I feel he was included the in the national squad too early. I won’t speak much about Usman Qadir’s inclusion in the T20 national squad, as legendry Abdul Qadir has died recently. Leg spinner Zahid Mahmood from Dado is an exceptional talent with variety in his armoury, so he should have been given opportunity in the T20 squad,” he added.

Latif said: “Babar is not a natural leader, as captains are born not prepared. Previously Sarfraz, Misbah, Younus Khan and others had all been captaining their regions or departments, unlike of Babar. I feel Babar should have been prepared keeping in mind future of Pakistan cricket, but like I said, the PCB doesn’t have any future plans or any strategy.

“In the past too, the PCB wasted lot of talented players like Tabish Khan, Saddaf Hussain and others, who were exceptional in List A and domestic cricket, but they were never given their due rights. Same will happen again, as majority of players are selected due to lobbying and talent hardly has anything to do when it comes to national team consideration.”

To a query regarding future of Aamir and Wahab, Latif said: “Both Aamir and Wahab deserve place in the national team purely due to their performances, but Pakistan team is badly struggling in ODIs and Tests. They need a bowler, who may bowl longer spells and provide breakthroughs. The PCB never keeps in mind formats when they select certain individuals. M Hussnain is a product of PSL and he can bowl very good four overs, but when such players are given chance in ODIs, they keep on struggling in ODIs and Test matches.

He said: “Pakistan team badly needs quality players like Shoaib Malik and Hafeez, who could hit big shots and also bowl few good overs. I think the PCB has gambled and taken huge risk by selecting inexperienced squad for the mega tour. Pakistan team is badly struggling in ODIs and Test matches and their ICC rankings in both formats is very low.

“Pakistan will suffer in T20s as well and like Test and ODIs, their ICC rankings may fall sharply. Although for now, they are top ranked team in ICC T20 rankings, yet next year’s World T20 is not so far and I fear they may fall to new lows. I don’t see Pakistan team can rise from such pressure situation unless bold decisions are made,” Latif concluded.