ISLAMABAD: Determined to make a comeback in the national side, out-of-favour pacer Junaid Khan believed that the selectors did not pay him heed, as he belonged to Swabi and not a big city like Karachi or Lahore.
Junaid also feels that having good relations with the coaching staff and captain can help a player in getting a consistent run in the national team. He said no one questioned his exclusion from the national team because he did not belong to a big city like Karachi or Lahore.
“If you have a good relationship with the coaches and captain, then you get more chances. It also depends on the city you belong to. If you belong to a big city, then people raise voice for you. People like me and Yasir Shah are from Swabi. There is no tv channel or media person from Swabi, so there is no pressure on selectors regarding our selection from media,” cricketpakistan.com.pk quoted him as saying.
Left-arm pacer added that he was not given a long run despite being a consistent performer. “I used to be part of the national team in all three formats. I used to ask for rest but I wasn’t given rest. Then came a time when I got in the bad books and was being ignored due to likes and dislikes. I was performing but was not being given a proper chance,” he said.
“I was the second highest wicket taker after Hasan Ali in Champions Trophy. But I got in the bad books of selectors, which resulted in my exclusion. I was dropped from the World Cup squad after being initially named in it,” he said.
Junaid was determined to make a comeback into the national side and has refused lucrative offers to accomplish his ultimate goal to represent Pakistan again.
“I have played around 120 matches for Pakistan, but I feel disappointed because I could have played around 200 matches till now. I got a great offer from United States of America (USA). I am being offered more money than what I earned while playing for Pakistan during my peak. However, I refused the offer as I still want to represent Pakistan,” he said.
“I am playing in domestic and you can still make a comeback in Pakistan team even if you are 35 or 36 years old if you are in the good books of selectors. I am working on my fitness and improving my skills,” he said.
To a question, Junaid said Shaheen Afridi was avoiding rest because he feared of losing his place in the national team to a younger pacer.
“Shaheen definitely needs rest. The management needs to make sure he doesn’t bowl a lot during the net sessions. Shaheen probably doesn’t want to rest himself because he might have fear of losing his place to a youngster, who might perform in his place.
He must be thinking they might drop him from one format if he doesn’t perform in few matches,” said Junaid.
“In our culture, even if a player performs for six years and then doesn’t do well in two games, he is replaced by a new player who has done well in only few games. Everyone forgets that player’s performances for last six years and instead prefers younger talent. So our players are insecure about losing their place,” he commented.