PCB cricket committee conducts review, says COVID-19 pandemic affected performance

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Cricket Committee Chairman Saleem Yousuf said the COVID-19 pandemic was one of the biggest contributing factors for the team’s overall below-par performances in the last 16 months.

The first meeting of the PCB Cricket Committee of the year took place in Lahore under the chairmanship of former Test wicketkeeper Yousuf. Umar Gul and Wasim Akram joined the session online, while Urooj Mumtaz attended the meeting at the Gaddafi Stadium. PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan and Director – International Cricket, Zakir Khan also participated as ex-officio members. The committee analysed and reviewed the performance of the Pakistan men’s national cricket team over the past 16 months during which the side played 10 Tests (won two and lost five), five ODIs (won four) and 17 T20Is (won seven and lost eight).

Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis also attended the session upon special invitation and provided their feedback and input to the committee. Prior to their participation, newly-appointed chief selector Muhammad Wasim also briefed the committee on his selection policies.

The PCB Cricket Committee unanimously agreed that the backroom staff needed to provide absolute clarity on their collective strategy and approach so that they could be evaluated and assessed against those objectives at the next meeting. The committee also recommended that the PCB should continue to support and back the team management, whilst suggesting that the next performance appraisal be conducted following the home series against South Africa.

Yousuf, in a statement, said: “The PCB Cricket Committee carried out a holistic but constructive, fact-based and objective review of the Pakistan men’s cricket team in the past 16 months. There is no denying the fact that we all want to see our side ranked amongst the top three or four cricket playing nations and our recent performances do justice with neither those expectations nor the talent we boast.

“Nevertheless, we also need to take into consideration a number of other factors and the committee was of the view that cricket during the Covid-19 pandemic was one of the biggest contributing factors in the side’s dismal performances. The challenges of playing in Covid-19 protocols have not only been faced by the Pakistan men’s national team, but by all the sides presently involved in international cricket and these concerns have been regularly raised by the team coaches and elite cricketers.”

Yousuf further stated that PCB Cricket Committee will conduct another review after the conclusion of the home series against South Africa.

Zakir Khan, Director – International, updated the PCB Cricket Committee on the Pakistan men’s cricket team’s commitments in the 2021 calendar year, which will commence with the home series against South Africa. He informed the committee that all arrangements have been put in place for the befitting delivery of the series under difficult and challenging bio-secure environment. The committee was informed fans will not be allowed inside the venue due to government restrictions.

Apart from the series against South Africa, other events in the 2021 calendar year include Pakistan’s tour of South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, West Indies and Afghanistan, and home series against New Zealand, England and the West Indies with the Asia Cup T20 and ICC T20 World Cup scheduled in the second and last quarters of the year