The Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday named the country's former fast bowler Wahab Riaz as their new chief selector, a week after accepting the resignation of legendary batter and ex-captain Inzamam ul Haq. Inzamam had on October 30 resigned as the chairman of the national selection committee after the PCB initiated an inquiry to probe if his association with a company that manages a number of national team players amounted to conflict of interest. (Cricket News | ICC World Cup 2023)
The 38-year-old Riaz's first assignment will be to select the squads for the Test tour of Australia and the T20I rubber in New Zealand. Pakistan will play their Test series in Australia from 14 December to 7 January and a five-match T20I away series against New Zealand from January 12 to 21. The PCB is expected to announce the other national selectors in a couple of days after consulting Riaz.
Riaz, who is also the sports advisor to the Punjab government, has not played for Pakistan since 2020 but is still active in the Pakistan Super League and appeared in domestic List A matches last year. The left-arm pacer, who has represented Pakistan in 27 Tests, 91 ODIs and 36 T20Is, also played in three successive World Cups, finishing with 35 wickets.
The bowler said he was honoured to assume the role of chief selector and added the decision to involve former players in cricketing matters by the PCB is commendable and he is willing to work for the betterment of the sport in the country.
"Heading a selection committee is a challenging task. We have a significant Australia tour coming up that is part of the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 cycle and a T20I series against New Zealand that will allow us to develop a formidable unit leading up to the ICC T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies in June next year," he said.
Riaz also spoke about his good rapport with the new director and head coach of the Pakistan team, former teammate Muhammad Hafeez. "I have a good rapport with Hafeez and we will be working closely for the success of Pakistan cricket. My primary goal would be to give weightage to the top performers in domestic cricket and announce well-rounded squads equipped with the necessary skill sets. I will always be available to the players for feedback and advice."
The PCB named a new chief selector after Inzamam resigned from the post last month following PCB setting up an inquiry committee to probe conflict of interest allegations. The PCB has formed a five-member panel to probe Inzamam's role in the company -- Yazoo International -- where he shares the same agent who manages Babar Azam, pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi and wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan.
Though Inzamam resigned, he maintained that his association with agent-and-partner Talha Rehmani had never affected or compromised his decision-making as a selector.