IMAGE: Inzamam said that critics and some former players focussed merely on criticising his nephew. Photograph: PCB/Twitter
Pakistan’s outgoing chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq says the tenure has been the most challenging of his professional career as he was subjected to ‘hurtful criticism’ for picking his nephew Imam-ul-Haq in the team.
Inzamam, whose tenure ends on July 31, said that critics and some former players focussed merely on criticising his nephew.
“Imam, I think would not have survived for so long in the Pakistan team and international cricket if he was not a performer. He had already played junior cricket for Pakistan and done well in domestic cricket even before I became chief selector but this fact was ignored by the critics which was hurtful for me,” he said.
“Being chief selector has been the most challenging role of my cricket career as I was heavily criticised for my decisions and I couldn’t respond much,” he added.
The 23-year-old Imam has played 10 Tests and 36 ODIs for Pakistan and his selection has often been criticised by ex-players.
The former captain and batting mainstay conceded that working as chief selector has been tough.
Inzamam, who appeared in 120 Tests, stepped down after a three-year tenure which ended with Pakistan not qualifying for the semi-finals of the World Cup in England.
But during his tenure, Pakistan won the Champions Trophy in 2017 in England and also became world number one in the ICC T20 rankings.
Inzamam said cricket is his life and he would always be involved with the sport in some capacity even after stepping down as chief selector.
“I can’t leave cricket it is my passion,” he said.
Inzamam, who came under fire for going to England before the World Cup and getting directly involved in team matters, said he had gone there with the permission of the Pakistan Cricket Board.
“I did my best to help them out. Our team didn’t do badly but luck didn’t favor us many times. As chief selector I did my best to pick new talent and give them proper opportunities as they are the future of Pakistan cricket,” he said.
Inzamam is tipped to get a fresh assignment when the cricket board sits down next week to review the performance of the team in the last three years.
Head coach, Mickey Arthur is scheduled to give a presentation to the cricket committee next Monday.
Pakistan plays nine Tests, nine ODIs and some 16 T20 internationals in the run-up to the ICC World T20 Cup in Australia in October-November next year.
Sri Lanka pacer Nuwan Kulasekara calls it a day
Sri Lanka seamer Nuwan Kulasekara has decided to call time on his international career, finishing as the third highest wicket-taker among his country’s pace bowlers after Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga.
For Indian fans, their biggest connect with Kulasekara would be Mahendra Singh Dhoni hitting him for the Wold Cup-winning six at the Wankhede Stadium in 2011.
The 37-year-old had 199 scalps in 184 ODIs while he took another 66 wickets in 58 T20 matches in a career spanning over 15 years. He also played 21 Tests for the island nation taking 48 wickets.
Kulasekara last represented Sri Lanka in an ODI against Zimbabwe in Hambantota in July 2017 and hasn’t played any competitive match since March 2018.
Kulasekara was one of Sri Lanka’s heroes during their victorious 2014 World T20 campaign in which he took eight wickets in six matches at an economy rate of 6.42.
In the final against India in Dhaka, Kulasekara had figures of 1 for 29 with Yuvraj Singh failing to go big against him.
Kulasekara was ranked as the No.1 bowler in March 2009 ICC rankings and his career-best ODI figures of 5 for 22 came in 2013 against Australia in Brisbane.
Sri Lanka head coach Hathurusinghe asked to step down
Sri Lanka’s head cricket coach Chandika Hathurusinghe has been asked to step down after the ongoing ODI series against Bangladesh.
Sources in Sri Lanka Cricket said SLC Secretary Mohan de Silva has written to Hathurusinghe asking him to resign.
Hathurusinghe was under pressure to quit after Sri Lanka’s dismal showing in the recent World Cup.
The island nation won just three preliminary round games and failed to make it to the semifinals.
However, after returning to the country, Hathurusinghe said he was keen to continue until the expiry of his contract, which was until the end of the next year.
The 51-year-old was appointed in December 2017 after he left his job with the Bangladesh team.
However, he was not able to turn around Sri Lanka’s dismal performances and the team lost 13 out of the 20 ODIs played in the run-up to the World Cup under his charge, which left them at No.8 in international rankings.
Sources said Hathurusinghe was expected to return to coaching Bangladesh after the sacking of Steve Rhodes by that team.
Sports Minister Harin Fernando had earlier announced that he expected the entire Sri Lankan coaching staff to step down, taking responsibility for poor World Cup performance.
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