LAHORE: Turmoil in Pakistan cricket took a new turn on Wednesday when former Test captain Rashid Latif turned down the offer of chief selector following an alleged disagreement over his working conditions. Latif, who has refused to sign the contract, was named head of the national selection committee in February, and his tenure was scheduled to start on April 1. Pakistan cricket has been hit hard by a series of off-the-field controversies in the past year, particularly a legal row over the job of the PCB chairman.
“The PCB considered me for the important slot and I, after thorough consideration, politely turned it down,” Latif said in a statement issued to the media. “No hard feelings for both parties. I don’t want to get into controversy and I hope Pakistan cricket will flourish under the chairman and board. I will not make any further statement. There has been too much speculation in the media and I would like to break my silence and announce that I will not join the PCB as chief selector,” he added.
Latif hasn't given a clear reason for backing out, but there are various factors that may have played a role, prominent among which are the present circumstances of the board under Sethi. Since the ouster of Zaka Ashraf, who was removed by the Prime Minister, the PCB’s administration has been in transition, with changes throughout the PCB hierarchy and new heads replacing those appointed by Ashraf. Ashraf's administration had appointed Aamir Sohail head of the selection panel, before Sethi stepped in and removed him.
Latif, known as a strict disciplinarian in his efforts to promote cricket, had demanded he report only to chairman Sethi or chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed. But sources said the PCB wanted him to report to director of game development Haroon Rasheed, and as a result he turned the job down. Pakistan haven’t had an official selection committee since the announcement of the World T20 squad. Latif's appointment was ostensibly meant to bring stability to the committee, but he never committed to taking up the role. Sources said Latif had been summoned by Sethi next week.
Sethi had offered Latif the role after being reappointed as PCB chairman by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in February. Latif also refused the additional responsibility of helping as an adviser on anti-corruption matters, a role offered to him for his services in the fight against corruption during his cricket-playing days. Latif blew the whistle on his team-mates in 1994, resulting in the Pakistan government initiating a judicial enquiry which led to life bans on former captain Salim Malik and bowler Ata-ur Rehman, and fines on six other players including bowling greats Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.
Latif played 37 Tests and 166 one-day matches for Pakistan that spanned 11 years, captaining Pakistan in 6 Tests and 25 ODIs. He also coached the Afghanistan cricket team, leading them to a silver medal finish in the Asian Games in China in 2010. He last played in 2003 and since then has focused on running his cricket academy in Karachi. He is currently working as a government graded officer – as sports head of Port Qasim Authority, which also runs a first-class team.
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