LAHORE: The forthcoming white-ball cricket series between Pakistan and New Zealand could face a major problem if the PCB-appointed match referee Mohammad Javed falls ill in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
While announcing the roster of umpires for the three One-day International in Rawalpindi and the five-match Twenty20 series in Lahore, the Pakistan Cricket Board are handicapped on the refereeing front since Javed is supposedly the country’s solitary representative on the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s international panel of referees.
According to the ICC official website, former Test opener Ali Naqvi is listed on the same panel as Pakistan’s other representative.
But the PCB had been trying to have Mohammed Anees reappointed on the ICC panel for the past year or so but the game’s ruling body has so far refused their application.
With no contingency plans in place if Javed in confronted with health or family problems, the PCB may find itself in an embarrassing situation there is no alternative available.
It may be added here that since his elevation to the ICC panel, Ali — whom the PCB nominated for the international panel — hasn’t been given any posting by the ICC.
In the backdrop of Covid-19, the ICC is unwilling to make changes in their panel of umpires and referees while member countries have been allowed to appoint home-based match officials for bilateral series.
Meanwhile, ICC elite panel umpire Aleem Dar and international panel’s Ahsan Raza will officiate as on-field officials in Pakistan’s three-match ODI series — part of the ICC Men’s World Cup Super League — against New Zealand. They also stand during the T20 series which will also be officiated by Asif Yaqoob, Rashid Riaz, Shozab Raza and Faisal Afridi.