Former players criticise Pakistan's late selections
KARACHI (AFP) - Former Pakistan Test players Monday criticised two of their cricket board's selections for the second Test against England, saying the decision would make the national team a "laughing stock."
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) axed leg-spinner Danish Kaneria after he conceded 171 runs for only one wicket in Pakistan's crushing, 354-run defeat by England at Nottingham last weekend in the first of match of a four-Test series.
Kaneria was dropped in favour of teenage left-arm spinner Raza Hasan, who will be available for the Test starting at Edgbaston Friday, pending travel arrangements, along with the other late call-up, batsman Mohammad Yousuf.
Former captain Amir Sohail said the late inclusion of Hasan and Yousuf in the squad currently in England was a "knee-jerk" reaction.
"Pakistan cricket will further become a laughing stock with these haphazard decisions," Sohail told AFP. "I agree with what others are saying -- Pakistan cricket has become a basket case.
"You don't treat a player like Kaneria in this manner," he said.
"If he (Kaneria) was not performing, it was a failure of the coaching staff and casts doubt on their ability to help players."
Sohail said Yousuf had not been playing cricket for some months, and his form and fitness were unknown.
Yousuf would also be in breach of an undertaking not to play cricket during the holy month of Ramadan following his 2006 conversion to Islam from Christianity, Sohail said.
Yousuf retired in March after the PCB banned him indefinitely, one of several sanctions imposed on seven players following a disastrous three-month tour of Australia in which Pakistan failed to win a single match.
Yousuf announced last month that he would be available if required, but there has been no official statement from the PCB on overturning his ban.
Former chief selector and left-arm spinner Iqbal Qasim said Kaneria's exit was "tragic and shabby."
"Kaneria is the second-best leg-spinner produced by Pakistan, after Abdul Qadir," said Qasim, who blamed wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal for Kaneria's poor performance.
If Kamran had not missed a chance to stump Paul Collingwood in England's first innings at Trent Bridge, Kaneria would have found the rhythm he needed to take more more wickets, Qasim said.
He also termed Yousuf's recall as "one of the biggest jokes."
The PCB's legal adviser Taffazul Rizvi dismissed any criticism of recalling Yousuf and said that, in terms of the original decision to ban him, this could still be done at the discretion of the PCB.
He added that "the words 'indefinite ban' was media's terminology and not ours".