New Delhi: Differences over Pakistan’s T20 World Cup squad selection and being given a break from the home series against New Zealand that he never sought led to Misbah-ul-Haq stepping down as the national team head coach on Monday, a PCB source claimed.
According to a well-placed source, Misbah had reached Lahore on Sunday after a 10-day quarantine in the West Indies and went to meet with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) CEO Wasim Khan. He was surprised to see there that the national squad for the coming home series and the T20 World Cup was already picked without his inputs.
“Misbah then got another shock when Wasim told him that he should take a break from the New Zealand series to which the former captain flatly refused,” the source said.
“Misbah made it clear that he didn’t require a rest and considered the home series against New Zealand and England as very important for preparing for the World Cup but was then conveyed that orders had come from higher authorities for him to take a break for the New Zealand series,” he added.
According to the source, Misbah also had reservations over the selection of at least two players in the squad, particularly Azam Khan, and made it clear to Wasim Khan they can’t be in the World Cup squad.
“When Misbah and the PCB CEO failed to reach common ground, Misbah made it clear it would be better if he didn’t continue as head coach,” the source added.
Misbah was also conveyed that his performance would be reviewed before any decision is taken on allowing him to complete his three-year contract after the World Cup. Appointed head coach and chief selector in September 2019, Misbah had completed two years of his contract with the PCB although he stepped down as chief selector last year citing a heavy workload.
The source said that Waqar Younis, the bowling coach, was then also asked to resign after it became clear Misbah and the PCB had gone in different directions.
The PCB, in its press release, said both the former captains had resigned citing heavy workloads and an inability to remain away from their families for long periods due to the COVID-19 protocols. Azam Khan’s selection over the former captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed as reserve keeper and batsman in the T20 squad came as a shock to many in the Pakistan cricket circles. Azam, the elder son of former Pakistan captain Moin Khan, only made his debut for Pakistan in England.
(With PTI Inputs)