With Pakistan suffering a 1-2 loss in the Test series against New Zealand, chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has issued a stark warning to the national team, saying non-performing players will be sent home. “I wouldn’t single out and just blame the captain. The fact is that thrice our batting collapsed under pressure in the series which is unacceptable,” Inzamam told reporters in Lahore.
“All the players have to realize their responsibilities and perform to their roles in the team otherwise they will go home now and there will be changes in the team.”
Inzamam, who appeared in 120 Tests and close to 400 ODIs, said he was very disappointed at the outcome of the series against New Zealand.
New Zealand took the series after winning the final Test in Abu Dhabi by 123 runs after another Pakistan batting collapse on the final day on Friday.
“We should have won all three Tests but we lost two of them only because of our own mistakes. This is a national level team and players are not selected for Pakistan to not cope with pressure. This is their job as professionals,” said the former skipper.
The chief selector said it was a headache that Pakistani batsmen were unable to handle pressure in a fourth innings in Test cricket.
“There is also the problem of maintaining a healthy strike rate. Imran Khan used to tell us that the team whose tail end batsmen don’t get runs would find it difficult to win. I think that is also the problem with the present outfit.”
Responding to a question about the selection of his nephew, Imam for the Test series in South Africa, Inzamam said it was unfortunate that Imam was always linked to him and not seen as an individual, which is why he was also under criticism.
“I know he didn’t get runs against New Zealand but we have to see that in the past one year he has got runs and we need to give him a long run. If he doesn’t get runs in South Africa than he can also be dropped by the selectors,” he said.
On the fitness issues of Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan and Muhammad Abbas who have been picked for the tour of South Africa, Inzamam said due to back-to-back series there was always the danger of players getting injured.
“That is why we rested Fakhar and Shadab and sent them home, they are fit now. Abbas didn’t have any major fitness issue but we didn’t want to take chances so we sent him home after the first test against New Zealand.”
The former skipper said that Sarfraz and his team would have to ensure they don’t repeat the mistakes of the past and enter the South Africa Test series with a firm resolve to put up a tough fight.
“A Test series in South Africa is always challenging for any team even for us so it is a big test for our players now and they have to learn from their mistakes and cope with the situation and pressure.”