No differences between selectors and Lawson: Salahuddin

August 13th, 2008 - 1:18 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Shoaib Akhtar

Karachi, Aug 13 (IANS) Pakistan’s chief cricket selector Salahuddin Ahmed denied reports that he had a spat with coach Geoff Lawson, saying that the national selection committee and the former Australian Test pacer have a normal working relationship. “There have been a lot of false reports over the months about us (selectors and Lawson) having spats over team selection,” Salahuddin, a former Pakistan Test cricketer, told IANS. “Such reports are being spread by elements who want chaos in Pakistan cricket.”

Reports Tuesday suggested that an angry Lawson flew off to Australia after clashing with the selectors at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore over the selection of comeback fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and senior all-rounder Shahid Afridi.

Lawson was convinced that the duo was not fully match fit and should not have been selected in Pakistan’s 15-man squad for next month’s ICC Champions Trophy. But the selection committee that also includes two former Pakistan Test cricketers Shafqat Rana and Saleem Jaffer believed that both Shoaib and Afridi were fit and needed in the team that is desperately looking for a good showing in the Champions Trophy after flopping in the Asia Cup held on home soil earlier this summer.

Pakistan are to host the Champions Trophy Sep 12-28 in Karachi and Lahore.

Salahuddin denied that any such confrontation took place during the meeting. “It’s healthy to have a discussion on the team combination. That is why we make it a point to sit down and listen to the coach and captain (Shoaib Malik) before selecting the national team,” said Salahuddin.

Salahuddin said the input of the coach and captain carries a lot of weight but was quick to point it out that it’s the selectors who have the final say in choosing the squad. “It’s written in our contracts that the selection committee’s word would be final in selection matters and both the coach and captain know it.”

It’s this clause that Lawson and Malik resent, says a well-placed source in the PCB. Both want more powers in selection matters like the previous team management formed by Inzamam-ul-Haq and Bob Woolmer enjoyed for a few years. The selection committee acted merely as a rubber stamp at that time.

But Salahuddin tried to dispel that impression saying that the Pakistan team management and the national selectors were working together for the same cause. “We are on the same side. We came together after Pakistan flopped in last year’s World Cup and want to ensure that the team is ready for the next World Cup in 2011,” he stressed.

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