The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to name Azhar Ali as the new ODI captain of Pakistan, while World Cup hero Sarfraz Ahmed will be his deputy.
Azhar has scored 452 runs in 14 outings at an average of 41.09 in the 50-over format and was tipped to be the new captain by outgoing skipper Misbahul Haq and head coach Waqar Younis. However, he has not played an ODI in more than two years.
Sarfraz has established himself as an important member of the Pakistan team after consistent performances throughout 2014, while he starred in the World Cup — notching up Pakistan’s first century in the mega-event since 2007.
“Azhar Ali will be the new one-day captain while Sarfraz will be his understudy,” a senior PCB official told The Express Tribune. “Azhar will also take up the mantle of vice-captain in Tests, while Sarfraz will deputy Shahid Afridi in the T20 format. The board feels that Azhar is the right man to take the team forward and in the meantime Sarfraz will be groomed as well.”
Selection committee replaced
Moin Khan’s tenure as chief selector has come to an end despite the former player insisting that he has done no wrong in a one-to-one meeting with Shaharyar.
While some senior PCB officials wanted Moin to continue, Shaharyar insisted on his decision, forcing them to reconsider, and has explained the reasoning behind it to the former captain.
The 1992 World Cup winner was asked to return to Pakistan midway through the ongoing World Cup after his visit to a casino for dinner led to an uproar back home.
Moin was not pleased about how he was called back despite there being no evidence of gambling or any wrongdoing. He was later given a clean chit by the PCB as no evidence was found against him.
“The chairman has told Moin that he is being removed as the chief selector. Haroon Rasheed will be the new chief selector but will have to give up his game development post,” added the official. “We feel that Haroon knows the players like the back of his hand and we need someone like him. Meanwhile, the selection committee will also include Saleem Jaffar, Azhar Khan and Kabir Khan, but the official announcement will be made later on.”
The latter two have served in the selection committee several times before.
Apart from Moin, Shaharyar met former cricketers Salahuddin Ahmed, Saleem Jaffar and Wasim Bari to discuss how domestic cricket can be improved to produce more quality players. Despite the removal, Moin’s association with the PCB may not be over yet and he may be given another important portfolio in the board to compensate for the ill-timed axe. “Moin is likely to be given a strong post in the PCB because his services are still required by the board,” added the official.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2015.