Wicketkeeping legend Rashid Latif has said that chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq, by overlooking leg spinner Zahid Mahmood in the squad for Zimbabwe series, has furthered the long-held notion that there exists discrimination against players from Sindh and Southern Punjab - two regions that some feel do not get enough representation and due share in all things that matter at national level.
After Misbah chose Usman Qadir over Zahid despite the latter's better stats in the National T20 Cup as well as a far greater hand in his team's road to the final, it reopened old wounds and debate that the system allegedly looks favourably on those that are from a certain areas.
Latif, in quotes published in Dawn, admitted that this was the impression he got as well.
“Zahid Mahmood’s performance speaks for itself. The bowler has potential and performance at the same time then why you are not selecting him?” questioned Latif. “If a player hailing from Dadu and playing from Southern Punjab performs consistently but is still gets neglected, what kind of message are the selectors giving here.
“At the same time, a player from KP gets selected in the same scenario, so as far as I am concerned, our selection policy has serious problems and question marks about it. Anyone with good understanding will realise the negligence of particular regions.”
Latif explained how giving greater representation to long neglected areas could trigger a new wave of talent production.
“If you select Zahid Mahmood from Dadu, upcoming talent will get confidence there," he said.
"You should have tried Bismillah Khan from Balochistan and engaged a lot of other budding youngsters. If you want to attract different regions towards cricket, you have to pick players from those areas on merit.”
Misbah, in a recent interview, had defended his call, saying that Qadir's better variation and the investment already made on him was why he was preferred.