Former Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria has slammed the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after it named an 18-strong squad for next month's two-match series in Sri Lanka. The Test contingent features leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who returns to the format after almost a year's absence. He replaced off-spinner Sajid Khan, who played in the last home Test series against Australia which Pakistan lost 1-0.
Kaneria, who represented Pakistan in international cricket between 2000 and 2010, said the selection committee is biased towards a specific set of players. He feels Sajid should have been a part of the current set-up that features pacer Haris Rauf as well.
The former tweaker said Rauf should have been a part of the T20 side and questioned Sarfaraz Ahmed's comeback too. He feels a young player should have travelled with the side instead of Sarfaraz, who turned 35 last month.
"I don't understand on what basis the selectors have picked the team. Seems like the selectors will never improve and think about players while picking a team. I don't know how Ramiz (Raja) approved this team. Some changes were needed after Australia defeated Pakistan in their own backyard. Off-spinner Sajid Khan played all Test matches against Australia but Pakistan didn't give chance to Yasir Shah, who would have gotten exposed against the Aussie batters. Sajid has been unfairly treated. They also removed Usman Qadir and didn't play him against Australia too. Zahid Mahmood was also omitted without any reason. I'm not able to understand whether Babar (Azam) or (Mohammad) Wasim is selecting the team and doing favours for friends," said Kaneria on his YouTube channel.
"Sarfaraz has also been included in the Test set-up. He won't be getting into the eleven because of Mohammad Rizwan. Instead of Sarfaraz, a young player could have been a part of the side. They also put Haris Rauf in the Test squad but Shahnawaz Dahani can be a better bowler in the longer format. Rauf should have been kept for the T20 format," he added.
"No one is asking questions to the selectors, who are making such decisions and destroying cricket in Pakistan. Faheem Ashraf has also been retained in the squad. Where are players like Imran Butt and Ghulam? These youngsters have done extremely well in domestic cricket."
"Pakistan need to make a team for the future but seems like the current selection committee is doing favours. One who offers gifts and keeps selectors happy gets into the team. Hardworking and honest players are being treated unfairly," elaborated Kaneria.
The first Test is in Galle from July 16-20 while Colombo will host the second match from July 24-28. Pakistan will fly out on July 6 and will also play a three-day warm-up match from July 11-13.
Uncapped all-rounder Salman Ali Agha and left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz were also named in the squad.
"Our spin department is boosted with the return of Yasir Shah, who proved himself a match-winner in Sri Lanka on our last tour," chief selector Wasim said on the spinner's comeback