The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been hinting at changes in the national squad and by the looks of things, Misbahul Haq, despite a decent winning ratio, will not be in Pakistan’s Twenty20 squad anymore.
Although Pakistan have won six out of the eight Twenty20s that Misbah has been captain in, the 2-1 series-loss against England as well as the batsman’s age and inability to finish off matches have resulted in the axe. Lack of agility in the field, needed in Twenty20 cricket, is also a factor contributing against Misbah as the board goes ahead with the implementation of separate squads for all three formats of the game.
Afridi emerges as likely replacement
Former Pakistan limited-overs captain Shahid Afridi has emerged as the likely candidate to replace Misbah despite his reluctance to take up captaincy.
Afridi lead Pakistan to the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup but was sacked after the West Indies tour that followed. In protest, Afridi issued his conditional retirement from international cricket and refused to play under the Ijaz Butt led board.
Hafeez’s name in the
However, Mohammad Hafeez is another name the PCB is looking at if Afridi flatly refuses to take up the captain’s arm-band.
While Afridi has previous captaincy experience, Hafeez has captained his domestic side SNGPL, mostly when Misbah was away on national duty.
“This is the era of specialist teams and we’re giving this idea a serious thought,” said PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf. “The selection committee will have the final say and if we need to change captains keeping our aims and plans in mind then we will think over that as well.
“Some players are tailor-made for specific formats. Specialised teams are being made all over the world.
“I can’t say for sure if we’ll have three different captains but if the selection committee and coach Dav Whatmore have advice on this matter, I will look at it. Twenty20, especially, is a fast-paced game and players should be selected based on that.”
Specialist wicket-keepers to be chosen
Meanwhile, Shoaib Malik is also set to regain his place in the limited-overs squad for the tour of Sri Lanka.
The national selection committee is also pondering over selecting three separate wicket-keepers – Adnan Akmal (Tests), Sarfraz Ahmed (One-Day Internationals and Shakeel Ansar (Twenty20s).
Ansar, who was part of the Sialkot Stallions’ Super Eight T20 cup winning squad, scored a century in that event, scoring 162 runs in five innings while also having eight dismissals to his name.
Officials close to the selection committee have also hinted at the return of Kamran Akmal for the series against Australia if Ansar fails to impress in Sri Lanka.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2012.