Pakistan's selection policy has been tweaked to allow the captain more say in the selection of the final XI for home matches. The move is a bid to ensure a smoother working relationship between the new, interim selection committee and the captain Shoaib Malik.
In a meeting with Ijaz Butt, the new chairman of the PCB, the selection committee, now headed by Saleem Jaffar, and Malik agreed that greater input would be sought from Malik. "The new chairman has said that the captain's recommendations for home matches should be given greater priority by the selection committee," Jaffar "His justified belief is that as the captain holds the responsibility of results on the field, he should have more say in the XI."
The context within which the move has come is particularly relevant: the last seleaction committee, headed by Salahuddin Ahmed (of which Jaffar was a member) had a fractious working relationship with Malik and coach Geoff Lawson. On a number of occasions this year, selection meetings would break down in arguments and disagreements. The policy then was subtly different, that the final XI for home matches would be chosen by the selectors with only inputs from the coach and captain. Several times, Malik and Lawson were unhappy with the XI and Malik even said so publicly during the Asia Cup in June this year.
Malik appears understandably pleased with the change. "I have been assured that the team will now be announced after consultations with the skipper," he told reporters after a meeting with Butt. "The selection committee will convince the captain before naming the team, unlike the way it used to happen previously."
The new selection committee, made up by Jaffar and former internationals Shoaib Mohammad and Ijaz Ahmed, will be in charge of selection for Pakistan's next two assignments, the Hong Kong Sixes and the three-match ODI series against West Indies in Abu Dhabi in November. No indications have come from the board as to who may take over after that, though Aamir Sohail's name has done the rounds more than most. At least one member of the committee is said to have indicated to the board that the current make-up should prolong its tenure. Jaffar is keen to get on with the job at hand, however.
"It was a good, positive meeting with Mr Butt," Jaffar said. "We have been assured full independence by the chairman for the time we are in."