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Players should be picked on merit, not on tainted past: Zaka Ashraf

Former PCB chairman throws weight behind Sharjeel Khan’s selection

Players should be picked on merit, not on tainted past: Zaka Ashraf PHOTO: Reuters

Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf believes that players should be picked on merit rather than their tainted past.

While speaking to Cricket Pakistan in an exclusive interview, Ashraf threw weight behind opener Sharjeel Khan’s comeback in the national side for Africa tour.

The 31-year-old was banned for five years — with half the period suspended — for his part in a gambling fix during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in 2017.

“It is not right to call Sharjeel a tainted cricketer. He was treated unfairly by [Najam] Sethi as he was banned without any proof,” he said. “He is a talented player and performed well in the PSL, while playing as an opener for Karachi Kings.”

“I firmly believe that players should be selected on merit and not on their tainted past. If a players has the ability to perform well for Pakistan, they he should definitely be selected,” he added.

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Ashraf also opened up on the controversy regarding Pakistan’s team selection which, reportedly, left head coach Misbahul Haq and captain Babar Azam unhappy.

“Team should be selected after proper consultation with the coach and captain. One-sided decision making is going to hurt Pakistan cricket. Players should be picked on merit and if a youngster has come up the ranks through his performance then he should definitely get his due right. It is an embarrassing thing for Pakistan cricket if a player doesn’t get a fair chance,” he said.