Pakistan men’s cricket team fast bowler Wahab Riaz is seamlessly transitioning into three distinct roles within his professional life. He commenced his cricket journey in 2001, representing Lahore in domestic tournaments. Fast-forwarding 22 years, he still actively participates in professional cricket, securing a spot in the coveted ‘Diamond’ category of Pakistan Super League (PSL) players. Since 2016, he has been a consistent presence for Peshawar Zalmi in the PSL, and his continued participation is anticipated in the upcoming tournament.
In addition to his cricketing career, Wahab Riaz assumed a second role earlier this year as the ‘Caretaker Minister for Sports’ in the Punjab province. Operating under the leadership of Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, Riaz gained public attention when a video of him playfully splashing water on locals while driving in the rain circulated on various social media platforms.
In a recent development, Riaz has taken on a third responsibility in his professional life by being appointed as the Chief Selector of the Pakistan men’s cricket team. In this role, he will be making crucial decisions regarding the team’s composition for the upcoming 3-match test series against Australia and will be responsible for selecting the squad for the 5-match T20I series against New Zealand.
However, concerns have been raised about the potential conflict of interest in Riaz simultaneously holding these diverse roles. Questions arise regarding the appropriateness of him being the chief selector for players he still actively competes with, all while maintaining an influential position in the current caretaker government setup. During the previous PSL season, Riaz played under the captaincy of Babar Azam, who recently relinquished his captaincy role in the national side.
The pressing question is whether this arrangement constitutes a conflict of interest. Many argue that for the integrity of the roles involved, it is imperative for Wahab Riaz to resign from his positions as the ‘Caretaker Minister for Sports’ and his role in Peshawar Zalmi while serving as the Chief Selector. Failure to address this issue could potentially undermine the credibility of the selection process and raise questions about the fairness of team composition under his dual influence.