LAHORE: Pakistan on Thursday dropped captain Misbahul Haq from the Twenty20 squad and made all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez the new skipper after the series defeat to England.
The decision was widely expected after Misbah led Pakistan to a 2-1 loss in the three-match Twenty20 series against England in February.
Misbah, who turns 38 later this month, is regarded as too old for the fastest brand of the game, but will still lead Pakistan for one-dayers and Tests on next month’s Sri Lanka tour.
Pakistan play two Twenty20s, five one-days and three Tests on the tour. They open with a Twenty20 match in Hambantota on June 1.
Misbah said he was not retiring from Twenty20 cricket.
“I accept this decision and will continue to serve my country in the best possible manner,” he said. “I have not decided to retire from the Twenty20 and will play at domestic level to stage a comeback.”
The 31-year-old Hafeez, who will skipper Pakistan for the first time, will also be Misbah’s deputy in one-days and Tests.
A delighted Hafeez, who has played 29 Twenty20s for Pakistan, said: “I owe a big thanks to the PCB and Misbah for thinking that I am capable enough to lead Pakistan.
“I will do my best to lift the team.”
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf said: “Misbah has been a great leader and he will remain captain for the one-days and Tests, but after consulting Misbah, we have decided to appoint Hafeez as new captain for the Twenty20.”
Paceman Mohammad Sami, 31, was included in all three squads after a two-year break and middle-order batsman Faisal Iqbal was back in the Test squad after being sidelined in 2009.
Uncapped left-arm paceman Rahat Ali, who has 107 wickets in 27 first-class matches, is in the one-day team, while batsmen Ayub Dogar and Afaq Raheem made the Test squad for the first time.
Shahid Afridi, a former captain who is in the Twenty20 and one-day squad, welcomed Hafeez’s appointment.
“Hafeez is captain of the whole nation and I urge the fans to back him. We must give him confidence before the all-important tour, then matches against Australia and then the World Twenty20,” the 32-year-old told AFP.
Afridi, who had been a popular choice of fans to lead the Twenty20 side, denied being disappointed at being passed over and said he was ready to play for Pakistan in any position.
Squad (Twenty20): Mohammad Hafeez (captain), Khalid Latif, Ahmed Shahzad, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Shakeel Ansar, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul, Sohail Tanveer, Saeed Ajmal, Raza Hasan, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Sami, Hammad Azam, Nasir Jamshed
One-day: Misbahul Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Rahat Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Mohammad Sami, Asad Shafiq, Aizaz Cheema, Azhar Ali, Imran Farhat
Test: Misbahul Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Ayub Dogar, Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Mohammad Sami, Faisal Iqbal, Junaid Khan, Afaq Raheem, Mohammad Ayub, Aizaz Cheema
June 1: First Twenty20 international, Hambantota
June 3: Second Twenty20 international, Hambantota
June 7: First one-dayer, Pallekele
June 9: Second one-dayer, Pallekele
June 13: Third one-dayer, Colombo
June 16: Fourth one-dayer, Colombo
June 18: Fifth one-dayer, Colombo
June 22-26: First Test, Galle
June 30-July 4: Second Test, Colombo
July 8-12: Third Test, Pallekele