The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has reinforced its national men’s selection committee this week by confirming three significant appointments. The revitalized committee, responsible for the selection of senior, Shaheens and U19 squads, will now comprise of Haroon Rasheed as Chair, Hassan Cheema, the Secretary of the Selection Committee and Manager of Analytics and Team Strategy, Mickey Arthur, the Director of the National Men’s Team, and Grant Bradburn, the Head Coach of the National Men’s Team.
These appointments come amid speculation about a possible decrease in the role of the team’s skipper, Babar Azam, as Pakistan transitions towards a more data-centric approach. In a discussion with an Express News correspondent, Chief Selector Haroon Rasheed dismissed such rumors, asserting that Babar’s insights would remain crucial to the selection process.
Rasheed said, “Babar Azam remains a key part of the selection process. His opinions will continue to hold the highest weightage as always. He can now directly liaise with the head coach regarding selection issues, fostering more cohesion within the team.”
Rasheed applauded the inclusion of a Manager of Analytics and experienced coaches in the selection committee. He endorsed Hassan Cheema’s appointment and asserted that this move would play a crucial role in charting a new path for Pakistan’s cricket.
Rasheed further explained, “Embedding analytics management and expert coaching into our selection committee will help drive Pakistan cricket in a new direction. Cheema’s appointment, in particular, will be a significant asset for us. The incorporation of data goes beyond simple player statistics; it delves into numerous factors like pitch behavior during different parts of the day, identifying areas where fast bowlers can excel, or where spinners might have an advantage.”
On the selection of the playing XI for international matches, Rasheed said, “The onus of choosing the playing XI for any overseas tournament or series rests with the team management. However, I will remain closely engaged with them, providing recommendations on topics like player rotation or the strategic deployment of spinners.”
With these latest appointments and strategies, the PCB aims to bring a new perspective and robustness to its selection process, thereby elevating Pakistan’s cricket performance on the international stage.