London, Aug.12 : Pakistan cricket's new chief selector and former Test star Inzamam-ul-Haq has said that out-of-favour left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan should not feel disheartened by his non-selection in the national squad, but should continue with his hard work.
In an interview with PakPassion.net, Inzamam-ul-Haq said,"Let me say that Junaid Khan is an extremely talented bowler as his past record clearly suggests, but as a chief selector, I cannot guarantee selection of players without consulting my colleagues and making a judgement on the suitability of a player." Junaid Khan could barely hide his disappointment when the news broke of his exclusion from the ODI squad.
A dejected Junaid went onto social media to air his disappointment at missing out again from another important series and complained about missing lucrative contracts with county sides due to his focus on gaining a position in the Pakistan ODI squad.
The Pakistan chief selector for his part expressed his regrets on Junaid's loss and put forward the reasons why selection decisions could not be driven by external factors.
"If Junaid Khan had some county contracts lined up from before, then I wouldn't have taken that into consideration, as I am afraid it would not be possible for me to decide the composition of the team before taking into account the performances of other players as well," he said.
Whilst Junaid Khan could well feel wronged by the decision to ignore him for the upcoming ODI series, the hope of playing for Pakistan is something he was advised by Inzamam to never give up.
Using the example of the return of another player, Umar Gul, who until recently had been side-lined, the Pakistan Chief selector put forward his hope that Junaid would continue to strive to find a place in the Pakistan team in the future, stating that "Junaid should not feel disheartened and continue the hard-work that he has been doing so far.
That is the only yardstick for the selection of any player. If he needs an example of this idea put to practice, then he should look no further than Umar Gul who will now be making a return to the ODI squad after an absence of almost a year." With tougher tours of New Zealand and Australia up ahead in the distance and Pakistan's current world ranking of 9th above Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, Inzamam is keenly aware of the challenge faced in selecting a squad which will bring some joy to Pakistan fans.
In remarks to PakPassion.net, the Pakistan chief selector explained the rationale behind the selection of the fifteen men who will attempt to reverse the unhealthy downward trend of losses which has been the bane for previous coaches and selection committees.
An oft-repeated criticism of previous selection committees has been their blatant disregard for new and upcoming talent and their insistence on including tried and tested players who have obviously failed to do justice to their past reputation.
In this regard, the inclusion of the twenty-two-year-old fast-bowler Hasan Ali represents significant progress for Pakistan cricket.
Not only is Hasan highly regarded on the domestic scene in Pakistan, but his performance during the recent Pakistan A tour of England has left many with little doubt over his potential for the future.
This is a fact not lost on Inzamam as he stated "We have included some young players like Hasan Ali to build the team for the future, and in that regard, I would like to say that he is a great prospect.
His performance for Pakistan A in the recently concluded tour of England, where he took twenty wickets, was outstanding and so we have rewarded him with a place in the ODI squad." Regarding the selection of yorker specialist Umar Gul, Inzamam explained that his surprise selection was really driven by the crucial need for experience amongst the Pakistan ranks.
"It is my belief that our fast-bowling attack needs the backing of some solid experience. There is no substitute for game experience and in that regard, Umar Gul's inclusion makes a lot of sense.
Apart from his experience of bowling in tight situations against top quality opposition teams, and with a good track record to boot, I was also encouraged by the thoughts of the selectors who felt that Gul was extremely fit which is a key requirement for the ODI format.".