Pakistan v South Africa in UAE 2010 October 8, 2010

Misbah-ul-Haq appointed Test captain

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Misbah-ul-Haq has been appointed Pakistan's captain for the two-Test series against South Africa in Abu Dhabi in November. He becomes the fourth man, after Mohammad Yousuf, Shahid Afridi and Salman Butt, to lead Pakistan in Tests in 2010 alone, and the decision completes a remarkable and typically Pakistani comeback; earlier this year, after the Australia tour, he had been dropped from all formats of the game. In July, he was contemplating retirement.

Instead, he will now lead a 15-man squad which includes Mohammad Sami, opener Taufeeq Umar, Danish Kaneria - each of them recalled - and a first time Test call-up for Asad Shafiq, who impressed in his debut ODI series against England recently.

There are signs that the decision hasn't pleased everyone involved with selection of the squad. When asked about the reasons behind the appointment, Mohsin Khan, chief selector, told ESPNcricinfo only that "the selection committee has nothing to do with the appointment of the captain." He refused to comment about the squad.

For now, however, the main focus will be on the 36-year-old Misbah who has, over the years, never quite managed to nail down a long-term position in any Pakistan side.

Since making his Test debut in 2001, he has played only 19 Tests and the majority of those came after 2007, when he returned to the international stage after a four-year gap. Over the next year or so, Misbah enjoyed his most productive period, scoring two Test hundreds on a successful tour of India. But a run of just three half-centuries in his last 15 Test innings - despite decent returns in the limited-overs formats - resulted in his exclusion in favour of younger options.

Though the decision is surprising, as one selector told ESPNcricinfo, it has been compelled on a board short of serious options. Shahid Afridi, who was retained as ODI and T20 captain, retired from Test cricket after a one-Test return as captain in England. Salman Butt, who succeeded him and impressed, is currently suspended for his alleged role in the spot-fixing scandal that rocked the summer tour. Ijaz Butt's feud with the man who has twice walked away from the captaincy, Younis Khan, continues to rule out the latter's involvement. Yousuf was the only other credible option within the side, but after leading Pakistan to seven international losses in Australia, has not been considered again.

"Who else is there right now?" the selector said. "We'll have to wait and see how it goes of course but Misbah has plenty of domestic experience as a captain to back him up at least."

Misbah has led Pakistan once, in an Asia Cup ODI win against India when he stood in for Shoaib Malik. He was impressive both as captain and batsman in that match, during a period in which he was Malik's official deputy, and was considered by some in the team management as a potential captain. He has plenty of leadership experience domestically to draw on, having led his departmental side Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL).

The board also announced on Friday their decision to retain Afridi as the limited-overs captain of Pakistan. Though the ODI and Twenty20 squads had been announced for the series on Thursday, the board did not initially name a captain. This led to speculation that Afridi might not be retained, the board claiming that the appointments were done on a series-by-series basis.

An official told ESPNcricinfo, however, that the delay came about due to the chairman's concerns about Afridi's role. "Afridi didn't get a very good report on his leadership in England from the team management," the official said. "That, and then some of his public comments recently have not impressed the board. Ultimately though it has been decided to give him another opportunity."

The series with South Africa takes in two Twenty20s, five ODIs and two Tests.

Test squad: Imran Farhat, Taufeeq Umar, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah ul Haq (capt), Umar Akmal. Azhar Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Danish Kaneria, Abdur Rehman, Zulqarnain Haider, Umar Gul, Tanvir Ahmed, Mohammad Sami, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Tanvir (subject to fitness).

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricstar101 on October 13, 2010, 5:23 GMT

    Why is there no Mohd. Hafeez in the test squad? We all know he can't play T20. The PCB select him for the formats he is not capable of playing and do not select him for the format he is suitable for. This is a big joke. Also no Wahab Riaz in the ODI squad. Why Imran Farhat and Taufeeq Umar still playing? Why is Azhar Ali only playing tests? PCB do not think and neither do they take their jobs seriously. Any way why everyone is wanting Younis as captain. That Younis that has been sitting on the bench for Surrey? Misbah was best choice. Well done one good decision!!!

  • fzmkh on October 12, 2010, 19:14 GMT

    Where is fawad Alam..................................................

  • ather_aziz on October 10, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    The moment i read the first name on the list of the test squad IMRAN FARHAT i closed my eyes and thn wen i opened them again his name was still there this guy is just anotehr reason for me to hate this current administration of the pcb even more he has averaged barely in the 20's in over the tour of england and he doesnt deserve to get another oppurtunity instead of him we could have given a chance to a player like mohammad hafeez who has shown some promise in the odi series vs england anyways glad to see taufeeq umar back would have loved to have younis khan back as captain but then again wouldnt all of us want that another person to be left out AGAIN out of the test squad fawad alam liek for god sake what has he done to not play test cricket his average is higher than half of your batsman in the squad like for gods sake pcb WAKE UP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 2.14istherunrate on October 10, 2010, 12:30 GMT

    The only viable choice was Kamran; he was therefore sacked from the team. Being appointed captain of Pakistan seems a bit like a knock on the door at 2am by the Gestapo or KGB. The great thing about Misbah is that he is even more anonymous than Salman Butt-largely already forgotten- and should blend into the shadows nicely at a moment's notice. i wonder if Younis Khan is in hiding somewhere. Try the Arctic, Younis. They won't get that far.

  • Another_brick_in_the_wall on October 10, 2010, 10:29 GMT

    oh come on folks, what else were you expecting ? Have Umar Akmal as the captain ? At least Misbah "looks" like a captain... Although I must say they should have given Zulqarnain a shot at captaincy, he atleast has the cricketing spirit and it wouldn't be surprising too, given Pakistan cricket's idiosyncrasies ! But I am sure "seniors" of the pak team would not have been too happy about it. Yousuf would probably cry all day if he were asked to play under a younger player !

  • higherd on October 10, 2010, 10:28 GMT

    Pakistan govt should offer honorary citizenship to Anil Kumble and then appoint him as captain of their cricket team.......PCB is a joke!

  • dummy4fb on October 10, 2010, 9:54 GMT

    Captain Misbah. 37 years old. Who is the next captain then?

  • dummy4fb on October 10, 2010, 1:18 GMT

    How lucky are the Pakistani cricketers... Everyone has a good chance of captaining their national side.. You never know who will be the next captain... 4 captains already this yr & more to come... Good on them .... LOLZ...

  • known_stranger on October 10, 2010, 0:19 GMT

    lets be very fair in analyzing the situation here.

    misbah is made captain because;

    PCB has rift with Younis(matter should be resolved), Yousuf is not at all a good captain, shoaib malik is out of form and had issues with players, shahid afridi got retired from tests, butt is going through the allegations of betting, shoaib akhtar is not mature enough to be a captain. who else is remaining???

    you guys want omer akmal or fawad alam to be named captain of tests?? we have no choice. experience has no alternate. misbah is fit, mentally tough and have a clean record.

    Yes, ejaz butt should be replaced, but not replaced with people in waiting list like arif abbasi, touqir zia etc as they received same kind of criticism in the past. Media needs a Villon always, PCB chairman always becomes a Villon if team does not play well, i mean the time media gives to Ejaz butt is almost the same as of prime minister. media lobbies for players as well as management.

  • fmpak on October 9, 2010, 22:01 GMT

    Ijaz butt will allways be remembered for destroying the cricket in Pakistan. At least now people will not waste time, money and their precious sentiments on cricket. You will see gradually that cricinfo followers from Pakistan will start to decline. And to tell you the truth there are thousands of Ijaz bjutts sitting at important posts in Pakistan.

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