KARACHI: Former Test cricketer Salahuddin Ahmed resigned as chief selector on Wednesday just hours after Ijaz Butt was formally installed as the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Salahuddin, who took over as the chairman of the national selection committee soon after Pakistan’s humiliating first round exit from the 2007 World Cup, said that he was unable to carry on his duties as the chief selector in what he termed as a “changed scenario”.
“I welcome the appointment of Mr. Ijaz Butt as the new PCB chief and wish him all the best,” he told media.
Salahuddin said that he spent a productive time as chief selector under former PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf, who resigned in August.
“I must give credit to former PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf for his relentless hard work and dedicated efforts,” said Salahuddin. “He (Ashraf) gave the selectors a free hand and we were never pressurised to select any player in the team,” said Salahuddin.
He stressed that the biggest reason behind his resignation was the fact that he wants the new chairman to bring in his own team to lift Pakistan cricket. “I gave my best as chief selector but was not sure whether I could continue doing that in the changed scenario. It is better to let the new PCB chief bring in his own team.”
Salahuddin was given a taste of what lay ahead on Tuesday when a change was made in the Pakistan team for this week’s four-nation twenty20 tournament that was chosen by the national selection committee.
The list of players handed over to the PCB by Salahuddin included the name of specialist spinner Saeed Ajmal, but the squad that was later released to the media instead included Quetta opener Shoaib Khan. The change was made by the Sports Ministry which approved the squad before it was made public by the PCB.
Shoaib’s inclusion in the 15-man touring party for the Toronto quadrangular meant that it has four opening batsmen and not a single specialist spinner.
But Salahuddin refrained from commenting on it and instead focused on the ‘achievements’ during his 18-month stint as chief selector.
“As selection committee members, we began the stint at a very difficult phase as the Pakistan team’s morale was really low after the World Cup debacle. “But the team improved and we also managed to blood some talented youngsters,” he said.
Former Test cricketers Shafqat Rana and Saleem Jaffer — the other two members of the national selection committee — have so far decided against following suit.
Butt, who was a member of the PCB Governing Board, is regarded as a hard task-master and a tough administrator and it is being widely anticipated in the national cricket circles that he would make some sweeping changes in the cricket set-up in the coming weeks.