Iqbal Qasim, Pakistan's chief selector, has said that there are no points of conflict between the national selection committee and coach Dav Whatmore. Qasim was referring to media speculation about a possible disagreement prompted by Whatmore working with discarded Test players at the National Cricket Academy earlier this week. He said that communication between the selectors and the coach is important, though, and will help both parties avoid a clash in strategy.
Pakistan's cricketers have not had any assignments since March's successful Asia Cup campaign, and will next be in action again only a month from now in Sri Lanka. Whatmore, who had taken over coaching the team only before the Asia Cup, has used the break to collect data on players around the country. He had worked with players like Mohammad Yousuf and Kamran Akmal at the NCA, prompting talk of potential comebacks.
The selectors, meanwhile, have named 12 fast bowlers to be supervised by Whatmore at the NCA. The list includes promising youngsters, as well as players like Mohammad Sami and Iftikhar Anjum who have been out of the national set-up for a couple of years.
"I am in contact with Whatmore on a constant basis and I don't think we are facing any points of conflict at the moment," Qasim said. "He [Whatmore] is new in Pakistan and wants to understand the system and wants to see what [players] we have. There is no harm in this, [in fact] we are helping him in this regard by giving him players [the 12 fast bowlers] to assess. This is the part of his strategy."
"I know players who are out of contention are there, practising with him. There is no harm in this, but we should ensure no communication gap crops us, sparking a clash with our [the selection committee's] strategy."
Pakistan have been in fine from over the past 18 months, losing only the ODI series to England in the UAE during this period. It was important to keep moving ahead, Qasim said. "Our vision is quite clear, we have to look forward.
"But our doors aren't shut on players who are on the fringes. There is always a criterion for every player [to make their way back into the team]. If they have fallen out of contention but are the part of coach's strategy, then we will definitely will consider them with an open mind. We cannot decide that XYZ player is finished and won't return."