KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is considering a move to appoint Salman Butt as captain for the two Test series taking place in England against the hosts and Australia with Shahid Afridi likely to lead the Twenty20 and the One-Day International (ODI) squads.
According to sources, the team management, including coach Waqar Younis, as well as the PCB officials all seem to agree on Salman’s appointment viewing Afridi’s reluctance to return to the Test arena. Afridi has not played a Test for almost four years and while the all-rounder has not confirmed his decision to stay away from Test matches, his return looks highly unlikely.
Pakistan’s next appointment is the Asia Cup that starts from June15 in Sri Lanka followed by the tour of England where it will play two Twenty20s and two Tests against Australia as well as four Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20s against the hosts. While the tour is still over a month away, the PCB is already mulling over the possible candidates for the threemonth long tour.
“Nothing has been confirmed as far as the captaincy is confirmed,” Ijaz told The Express Tribune from London where he is meeting with his English counterpart Giles Clarke. “The squads for the Asia Cup and the tour of England will be named together on May 22 or 24 as the team will depart for London directly from Sri Lanka after the Asia Cup.” The sources added that Salman, who finished as the third-highest scorer in the recently- concluded 2010 World Twenty20, has the backing of the coach as well as the senior players in the team and is on good terms with all team members.
Pakistan may head to the one-day tournament in Sri Lanka and the tour of England hampered by the absence of key players including Mohammad Yousuf, Younus Khan and Shoaib Malik, with all three banned by the PCB. Younus and Malik have filed appealed against their bans, the hearing dates have set as May 22 and 29 respectively. As a result, Malik, if successful, may be able to make his international comeback while Younus may have to wait until the Test series in England.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 18th, 2010.