ISLAMABAD   -    Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif has held Pakistan Cricket Board responsible for Mohammad Aamir’s abrupt decision to retire from Test cricket.

Talking exclusively to The Nation on Saturday, the wicketkeeper batsman said: “PCB took decision in haste to allow Aamir’s return to national team in 2016 and same has happened again. Aamir in 2017 tried to retire from longer version of the game but coach Mickey Arthur and the then PCB’s chairman managed to convince him to continue playing longer format of the game. Aamir again in 2018 showed his desire to stop playing Tests to focus on ODIs and T20 Internationals. But somehow, Aamir was playing test cricket. He is only 27 and has taken only 119 wickets. He should have played Test matches till getting 200 or may be 300 plus wickets to be amongst the bowling greats like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Imran Khan and Shoaib Akhtar. He is playing for the national team that’s why people might remember him till he finishes his playing career. But take my words, as he stops playing for national team, nobody will remember Aamir.”

“I think it is the PCB, who is at fault. They never focus on ensuring national assets should be kept under control. Already Pakistan is struggling to find fast bowlers. Pakistan play very few Tests every year as Pakistan is the only Test playing nation, which gets step-motherly treatment from ICC as far as allocation of Test matches each year is concerned. I think, the PCB could have easily managed the workload on Amair and others. Malinga had also retired at 27 for Sri Lanka form Test matches and Sri Lankan team badly suffered while cricket also lost its charm as a great bowler, who was followed by millions quit the original format of cricket. For cricketing greats, only Test cricket is real cricket and Test cricket records matters most. The PCB should have convinced Aamir to choose between ODIs, T20s and play selected Test matches.”

Rashid said the commercial aspect of the game has forced cricketers to show disrespect towards country and turn their backs.

He said it is very easy to convince and ensure players love to play Test matches by bringing incentives in the longer version of the game.

The former captain said the Test cricket had lost the charm and if top players quit playing Tests then the future of test cricket would be in dark.

“Australia has raised the bar for players and gives maximum amount to players, who play Test matches, then ODIs and then T20s. The PCB has to apply the same incentives and formula to protect players.”

“Country matters most. Had the PCB was not in a rush to bring Aamir back soon after the ban ended, things could have been different. Amair is free to play leagues and he has every right to safeguard his family but country and cricket should also be his priority. If the PCB allows players to quit Test cricket and focus on lucrative leagues then Pakistan cricket will suffer badly and every other player would love to focus on earning money rather than feeling proud to serve country. Now is the time, PCB should talk to not only Aamir but other players as well, who are at the brink of quitting longer version of the game. Timely action is the only solution of problems, or else things will slip out of PCB hands.”

He said Aamir had played only 36 Test matches while it is true he had fitness issues but he can manage those issues by playing selective matches.

“If we look at world’s great cricketers, their careers start after they reach 30. The PCB must come up with clear policy and protect the future of Pakistan cricket rather than bowing down to pressure from certain quarters. Liking and disliking has already cost dearly Pakistan cricket and country’s cricket can’t afford further letups. I suggest the PCB should invite Aamir and urge him to reconsider his decision and give him clear plan so he could revise his future plans regarding playing for Pakistan,” Rashid concluded.”