Najam Sethi defends Pakistan team after 1-4 loss to South Africa

Najam Sethi said that the Pakistan team didn’t perform that badly. He felt the team was close to winning two matches © AFP

Karachi: Nov 12, 2013

Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)’s interim management committee, Najam Sethi has defended the performance of the national team in their ODI series against South Africa but indications are strong there will be changes in the team management soon.

Sethi, who witnessed some parts of the series which Pakistan lost 1-4, said the national team and young players needed to be encouraged and supported.

“We didn’t perform that badly in the series against a top side we were close to winning two matches and we have to keep in mind we have a young side,” Sethi told reporters on Monday after returning to Lahore from Dubai.

But reliable sources in the board told PTI that a decision in principle had been taken to not only release head coach, Dav Whatmore and fielding coach, Julian Fountain and also change the captain for the one-day matches but the board was facing a dilemma when to make these changes.

“The dilemma is whether to make the necessary changes before the team’s unscheduled one-day series in South Africa this month or after the tour ends,” one source said.

He also said that the team management after supporting the return of experienced allrounders, Shoaib Malik and Abdul Razzaq to the national T20 squad had now also requested for senior batsman, Younis Khan to be recalled for the three one-day games in South Africa.

“No one was expecting Pakistan to not win the test or one-day series in familiar conditions in the UAE and the margin of defeat in the ODI series in particular has come as a shock. The constant failure of the batting now a big headache for the board,” another source said.

He said that now the Interim Management Committee (IMC) had to decide whether to ring changes before the team goes to SA or afterwards. “One immediate move could be to bring back Younis, Malik and Razzaq to the one-day squad as well,” the source said.

He said that some IMC members who were in UAE had also started speaking to potential candidates for the coaching jobs in the Pakistan team.

“After Sethi, IMC member, Shaharyar Khan has also spoken to Waqar Younis who is a front runner to return to his job of head coach whenever Whatmore is released,” the source said.

He said members of the national team had also shown inclination to have Waqar back as their head coach a position he left in 2011 due to personal reasons.

“Misbah’s ODI captaincy future is now very uncertain as the IMC also feels it is time to bring in a more dynamic leader but the problem facing them is most of the candidates for this job are themselves struggling to keep their places in the team.”

Sethi, however, adopted a very positive posture on the team’s recent performances and said with new players being given chances obviously time was needed.

“We are now planning to send our talented youngsters to go and play domestic cricket in other countries and we will encourage them by issuing them NOC’s promptly,” Sethi said.