LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has pulled back its best match referee Mohammad Anis to induct former Test opener Ali Naqvi into the ICC Panel of International Match Referees.
“Former Test opener Ali Naqvi is the only new inclusion as he joins Prof Javed Malik in the ICC Panel of International Match Referees, while Ahsan Raza, Asif Yaqoob, Rashid Riaz Waqar and Shozab Raza have been retained in the ICC Panel of International Umpires,” said a PCB press release issued on Monday.
“Ali has replaced Mohammad Anees, who is part of PCB’s six-member Elite Panel of Match Referees. Anees refereed in two ODIs in November 2017 between Papua New Guinea and Scotland in Dubai,” the press release stated.
Ali, 43, played five Tests for Pakistan during a five-month period from October 1997 to March 1998, scoring 242 runs at an average of just over 30. After scoring century on his Testy debut against South Africa at Rawalpindi in 1997, he could not convert that impressive start into a successful career as he managed scores of 19, 30 not out, 11, 6, 27, 13, 13 and 8 in his next eight Test innings.
He retired from first-class cricket in 2011 after aggregating 5,881 runs in 115 matches with 14 centuries and 24 half-centuries.
The Lahore-born Ali is also a member of the national cricket committee, which is not functional at the moment because no chairman has been appointed yet following Iqbal Qasim’s resignation early last month after he developed differences with the PCB over power related issues.
Ali is also included in the PCB Elite Panel of Referees.
In 2014, Ali was appointed as a member of the junior national selection committee before joining the PCB Panel of Match Referees in 2016-17. He was promoted to the elite panel in 2018-19.
But Anis, who has been declared as best match referee of the domestic season in 2016-17, 2017-18 (no declaration was made by the PCB about 2019 or 2020) indirectly suffered for adjusting Ali to the post.
The second referee from the PCB on the ICC panel is Prof Javed who has been retained. When the PCB recommended the names of Anis and Prof Javed for the ICC panel in 2017, the name of former was the first choice as he was the best adjudicator on the domestic circuit.
The PCB did not mention any specific reason for replacing its best match referee with Ali.
It may be mentioned here that this is not first time when the PCB made such decisions that affect individuals who miss out despite giving best professional results.
The PCB changed its best coach Ijaz Ahmed Junior, whose Central Punjab team has won the 2019-20 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. Moreover, the PCB did not promote another head coach Sajjad Akbar, whose Southern Punjab clinched the Second XI of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy as he is still coaching Southern Second XI in the ongoing National T20 Cup.
Meanwhile, a PCB spokesman said the decision on inducting Ali as ICC match referee had been taken to promote Test and international cricketers on such posts as it was the practice at the ICC. And as there was only one Test cricketer in the PCB Elite Panel of Referees, so in the first attempt his (Ali’s) name has been referred, the spokesman said.
ICC Panel of International Umpires: Ahsan Raza, Asif Yaqoob, Rashid Riaz Waqar, Shozab Raza.
ICC Panel of International Match Referees: Ali Naqvi, Prof Mohammad Javed Malik.