PCB's new chairman Ehsan Mani says Pakistan will not 'ask' India for matches

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Newly appointed PCB chairman Ehsan Mani.

Pakistan Cricket Board’s new chief Ehsan Mani has taken a tough stance when it comes to India, declaring that he will fight for Pakistan’s interest.

Talking about the challenges facing the Pakistan board vis-a-vis the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the legal battle over India’s failure to play bilateral cricket with his country, Mani said he will fight for his team but insisted Pakistan will no longer ask for matches.

“I will not request India to play with us. Their own policy has been contradictory, as they are ready to play multi-nation tournaments like Asia Cup and World Cup but have a different stance on bilateral arrangements,” Mani was quoted as saying.

“I never understood their positions… India’s influence is far greater (in ICC) but I will fight Pakistan’s corner.”

The Pakistan board is seeking damages to the tune of $70 million in lost revenues following the BCCI’s reluctance to play two series – in 2014 and 2015 – which was part of an agreement signed in 2014.

Mani also said one of his main targets was to bring in greater professionalism in the PCB’s structure as too much power lies in the hands of the chairman.

“Too much power is accorded to the chairman, which isn’t good practice,” Mani said. “Nowhere in the world does this happen so we have to tweak the constitution. Ideally professional teams run on a professional basis. The idea is to take Pakistan to the next level by professionalising the system.”

Mani has extensive administrative experience. He represented Pakistan at the ICC from 1996-2002 and was the ICC chief from 2003-2006.

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Salman Butt reportedly being considered for Pakistan 'A' team against England Lions

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Salman Butt

Disgraced former Pakistan captain Salman Butt is back in the limelight but this time for a different set of reasons.

The 33-year-old left-handed batsman has been overlooked, quite understandably, by the Pakistan management for three years following the expiry of the five-year ban imposed on him for his involvement in the 2010 Lord’s Test spot-fixing scandal.

Left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir, also implicated in that scandal, came back into the team almost immediately upon the completion of his ban but Butt, who was seen as the leader of the operation and much more aware of the seriousness of the situation than the-then teenaged Amir,  has not found many supporters in the Pakistan senior establishment.

Butt returned to domestic cricket in 2016 and hit top form straightaway, helping his team WAPDA win Pakistan’s Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first-class tournament. However, despite promises of being considered for selection, Butt didn’t get a look-in. It is believed the 2017 PSL spot-fixing scandal made the management edgy about optics.

However, it seems there is a ray of hope for Butt. According to reports in Pakistan, Butt has a good chance of making it to the Pakistan ‘A’ that will face the England Lions towards the end of the year in the UAE.

Speaking to Cricbuzz, Butt said he deserves an opportunity just like Amir and should at least get to play for Pakistan ‘A’.

“Nobody from the board has contacted me,” Butt said. “Inzi bhai had said in a press conference that I would be tried in the A team first. That time the A tour did not happen. Now with this series coming up, it is good that you have reminded of it.”

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Mohammad Hafeez out of Pakistan's Asia Cup squad, Imad Wasim fails fitness test again

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Mohammad Hafeez.

Pakistan excluded veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez from the final squad for the Asia Cup tournament, while young all-rounder Imad Wasim was axed after failing the fitness test for the second time.

Hafeez was part of the squad that played five ODIs in Zimbabwe but didn’t feature in a single match. Pakistan’s selectors decided to go with in-form batsman Shan Masood after the opener scored 1,200-plus runs in two domestic one-day tournaments.

Left-arm spinning all-rounder Wasim had failed the fitness on Monday, falling short of the Yo-Yo test benchmark of 17.4 by .02 points. He failed to pass the test on Tuesday and chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said the decision was straightforward.

“We have a clear policy that only players who pass fitness tests will be selected. This isn’t only for Imad, it’s for all players. If they fail a test once, we give them another opportunity. Imad Wasim unfortunately couldn’t pass it,” Inzamam said.

The future of Hafeez now hangs in the balance as at 37 years of age, it will be extremely difficult for him to fight his way back.

The Asia Cup begins on September 15 and includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and a qualifier team. Sarfraz Ahmed leads the Pakistan side which opens its campaign against a qualifier on September 16 before taking on India three days later. Both games are in Dubai.

The final will be held on September 28 in Dubai.

Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan Shinwari, Shaheen Shah Afridi

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