Ahead of Pakistan’s tour of Sri Lanka scheduled for June 1 – July 12, the Pakistan Cricket Board removed Misbah-ul-Haq from the position of captain of the T20 side. Misbah, was reportedly asked to step down after Pakistan’s 2-1 loss to England in the T20 series held in February. According to the AFP, Misbah is regarded as being too old for the high powered, faster version of the game and chief selector Iqbal Qasim and coach Dave Whatmore definitely wanted a change..
A visibly unhappy Misbah, who seemed reluctant to give up captaincy, will continue to lead Pakistan in one day and test cricket. According to the AFP, Misbah said, “I have not decided to retire from the Twenty20 and will play at domestic level to stage a comeback.” 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.”
Misbah has scored 2,173 runs in 34 tests at an average of 45.27, 2763 runs in 98 ODIs and 788 runs in 39 T20s at average of 37.52. Misbah’s T20 stats of course do not reveal the true grit of this player who shot into limelight when he almost stole a victory from India in the 2007 T20 world cup final.
Newly appointed T20 captain, 31 year old all-rounder Md Hafeez was immensely delighted with the decision and said, “I owe a big thanks to the PCB and Misbah for thinking that I am capable enough to lead Pakistan.” Hafeez hasn’t had a very successful T20 tenure yet, but is hopeful.
“I will do my best to lift the team,” he said. Appointed Misbah’s deputy for tests and one day matches, Hafeez said he and Misbah have played together at every level for over a decade and they have good coordination and understanding between the two of them. Gushing with enthusiasm, hedescribed Misbah as “one of the best captains I have played under,” and continued, “I am hoping to learn a lot from him as vice captain in the tests and ODIs. I will be giving him my full support.”
Fast bowler Md Sami makes a comeback into the new T20 squad, apart from new entrants left arm spinner Raza Hasan, Shakeel Ansar who recently made heads turn when he scored an unbeaten century in Pakistan’s domestic T20 circuit, Haris Sohail who remained not out in four straight games in Pakistan’s Super Eight T20 series. It will be important for this outfit to do their best in the tour to Sri Lanka as the PCB, coach and selectors are likely to pick a team for the T20 world cup based on performances in the series.
Pakistan’s T20 squad for Sri Lanka's tourMohammad Hafeez (c), Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Yasir Arafat, Khalid Latif, Ahmed Shahzad, Shakeel Ansar, Sohail Tanveer, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Raza Hasan, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Sami, Hammad Azam and Nasir Jamshed.