Misbah-ul-Haq, may be forced to end his reign as Pakistan ODI and Twenty20 International Captain, at the end of the Asia Cup.
Ul-Haq, who has faced a lot of criticism during his captaincy period, especially after his side were swept aside easily by England recently, may be replaced by Shahid Afridi or Mohammad Hafeez, according to a source close to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and national selection committee.
The source, speaking exclusively to PTI, said: “All indications are that the board and selectors feel that it is time for Misbah to be restricted to leading the Test team while a new captain will be announced for the ODI and T20 teams.”
According to the source, the PCB, will be hearing what newly appointed coach, Dav Whatmore, has to say about ul-haq and the Asia Cup, before they make a decision on whether to strip him of his captaincy.
Ul-Haq, has been leading Pakistan since May last year, after former PCB chairman, Ijaz Butt, sacked Afridi as Captain, after the squad’s tour to the West Indies. Afridi had been captaining Pakistan in both ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals since 2010.
According to the source, there have been strong signs that the cricket board are debating whether many of the senior players within the Pakistan team, such as, Younis Khan, Umar Gul and Misbah himself, should be restricted to playing test cricket, while a new and younger ODI and Twenty20 International squad would be formed.
“There is a feeling that Pakistan need to have ODI and T20 squads with more young players and fresh faces as there is little likelihood of some seniors continuing to play in prime form until the 2015 World Cup” said the source.
He also said that if this major change were to happen, it would allow players like Kamran Akmal, who has been in a terrible run of form in the past couple of months, to have an opportunity to represent their country once again.
Since Whatmore has just taken over as Pakistan coach, he will not have a lot of input into the team selection process, but, he is expected to start having a more decisive role once the Asia Cup is over.
However, if Misbah-ul-Haq, were stripped of his captaincy, there will be a question mark, as to who will lead Pakistan’s ODI and Twenty20 International squads.
The source, also voiced his own concerns for with the decision, saying: “The main issue facing the PCB, selectors and Whatmore will be if they replace Misbah and also decide to sideline Younis and other seniors for the ODI and T20 squads, then who will lead Pakistan in these two formats.”
However, the PCB are considering a small number of candidates, who have enough experience to take up the post. “The problem is that choices for candidates to lead the Pakistan ODI and T20 squads are very limited with Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik among the main contenders” the source added.
Whatever the outcome, there is no denying the fact that the PCB have a crucial decision on their hands, one, in everyone’s mind, that could drastically change the outlook of Pakistan cricket for many years to come.