His first assignment will be picking the side for home series against South Africa next month
Mohammad Wasim, the Northern head coach and former Pakistan batsman has been named Pakistan chief selector until the 2023 World Cup. He has been asked to leave his coaching role with Northern at the end of ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy to lead the selection committee, and his first assignment will be picking the Pakistan side for home series against South Africa next month.
The position was vacant for nearly three weeks after Misbah-ul-Haq stepped down as chief selector, a role he held for over a year alongside being Pakistan’s head coach. He continued only in the single role of head coach after picking the Pakistan senior side and the A team – Pakistan Shaheens – for ongoing tour of New Zealand. He officially stepped aside as chief selector on November 30.
Pakistan had initially considered Mohammad Akram for the position, but the deal fell through over disagreement on the structure of the selection committee. Last year the PCB had revamped the structure of the committee, putting the head coaches of each of the six regional associations on the committee to assist the chief selector. Akram wanted an independent committee instead, but the PCB decided to stick with the existing model and so moved on to another candidate for the role of chief selector.
Wasim, 43, is in his second term as head coach with the Northern Cricket Association. Last season, his side won the National T20 Cup and were runners-up in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. This year, stand second after eight rounds of the first-class tournament. The PCB confirmed he will complete the season with the team before they need to find a replacement.
Wasim represented Pakistan between 1996 and 2000, playing 18 Tests and 25 ODIs for 783 Test runs, including a century on debut, and 543 ODI runs.
“I have been very fortunate to have played with some of the finest cricketers and am confident that I will be able to [use] those learnings in this challenging role,” Wasim said on his appointment. “We have a busy 2021 ahead and I will focus on positive selections that not only address our short-term needs but also fulfil our long-term ambitions. We have immense talent in Pakistan and it is important that they are given opportunities.
“This is a performance-oriented world and, as such, my philosophy will be to promote meritocracy and select squads according to home and international conditions and requirements. As a chief selector, I will always be willing to make the hard calls, if these are in the best interest of Pakistan cricket. I look forward to working closely with head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam as we collectively strive to take Pakistan cricket forward.”
In a separate decision, the PCB recalled former wicketkeeper Saleem Yousuf as head of the cricket committee, from which Iqbal Qasim had resigned in September after saying the role was “toothless”. When the committee was formed in October 2018, it was said to have a wide-ranging role in overseeing all aspects of Pakistan cricket but was not given any decision-making power. The members were supposed to meet three times a year to discuss a variety of issues, including concerns at the first-class level that have drawn increasing attention over the last few years. But the committee has rarely functioned smoothly and has often been subject to changes.
“Muhammad Wasim and Saleem Yousuf have sound knowledge of cricket, understand the rigours and demands of the modern game and are highly respected across the cricket fraternity,” Wasim Khan, the PCB’s chief executive, said. “Both the gentlemen are also aligned to the PCB’s five-year strategic pillar of strengthening our merit and opportunity-based domestic structure, as well as improving our international rankings across all formats.
“Wasim’s appointment is also part of our strategy to groom, develop and provide leadership opportunities to our talented cricketers. After retiring from competitive cricket, Wasim has progressed through the ranks, having previously worked as a match referee, coach and selector. He is young, progressive and bold thinker who is in sync with our new High Performance Player Framework, and is one of very few people who are completely aware of the pool of talented cricketers available at the domestic level.”
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent