The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) plans for the future gained further momentum as it named separate squads for all three formats while also naming Mohammad Hafeez as the team’s Twenty20 captain, ending Misbah’s reign at the helm.
While Misbah was also overlooked from the Twenty20 squad, he retained the captain’s arm-band for the Test and One-Day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka, the tour that starts on June 1. Hafeez was also named Misbah’s deputy in those two formats, ending a long run of series where Pakistan have gone in without a vice-captain.
Speculations linking former captain Mohammad Yousuf with a return to the national side also fell flat when chief selector Iqbal Qasim named the squads yesterday. Another former captain Shoaib Malik was named in the Twenty20 squad that also includes Sialkot Stallions’ wicket-keeper Shakeel Ansar as the board opted to have separate glovesmen for all formats.
Teammate Haris Sohail was also named in the Twenty20 squad that also saw the return of all-rounder Yasir Arafat and Ahmed Shahzad.
An outstanding performance on the domestic circuit finally paid dividends for Mohammad Sami who features in all three squads.
Farhat returns to ODI team
Meanwhile, left-handed opener Imran Farhat made a surprise return to the ODI squad which also includes the uncapped left-arm Multan pacer Rahat Ali.
Wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed, who was a part of the Asia Cup winning squad, retained his place in the side along with Younus Khan, Azhar Ali, and Aizaz Cheema.
Umar snubbed from Test squad
Meanwhile, Umar Akmal, who returned to the Test squad in the series against England, failed to keep his place as the selectors opted to recall Faisal Iqbal.
Batsmen Afaq Rahim and Mohammad Ayub Dogar also managed to convince the selectors after consistent performances in domestic cricket. Left-arm fast-bowler Junaid Khan, who has recovered from a knee injury, returns to the Test squad.
The chief selector said that the teams were selected on current performance and the requirement and backed the inclusion of Sami.
“Sami has been doing outstandingly well in all formats in first-class cricket,” said Qasim. “He deserves another chance.”
Meanwhile, Misbah, who showed interest in leading the team in all formats, ruled out any grudges on being removed as the Twenty20 captain.
“I’ve always tried to give my best for the country,” he said. ““I accept the board’s decision with an open heart and will support Hafeez as captain.”
Captain Hafeez, meanwhile, thanked the PCB profusely for showing confidence in him as a leader.
“I will give my 110% to lead the team to success,” said the new Twenty20 captain. “I will go all out to create a good image of the country. I’ve played under various captains including Rashid Latif and Inzamamul Haq and Shahid Afridi, and have learnt a lot from them. I hope to apply my experience well as a captain.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2012.