Pakistan v South Africa in UAE October 7, 2010

Misbah returns, no captain named


Pakistan have announced a 15-man squad to take on South Africa in two T20s and five ODIs later this month in the UAE, but surprisingly not named a captain.

Shahid Afridi has been - bans, punishments and Test retirements notwithstanding - the limited-overs captain since June this year and is in the squad but not yet as leader. No selector was available to comment on the decision. The chairman Ijaz Butt, selectors and management were involved in a day-long meeting at Gaddafi Stadium and the issue of naming a captain is thought to have been discussed only briefly. One official who attended that meeting told ESPNcricinfo that Butt insisted a captain would be announced later.

Predictably, the non-announcement has already sparked speculation of possible disharmony. One TV channel reported that a negative report against Afridi's leadership during the England tour from the team management has led to the decision to not name a captain yet. Afridi was outside the country on a commercial assignment and only returned on Thursday.

The other surprise is the return, yet again, of Misbah-ul-Haq to bolster the middle order. Misbah was dropped from the set-up after the winless tour of Australia earlier in the year - he had only gone on that tour after the original decision to axe him was reversed - as the selectors looked to move towards younger options. But an impressive Man-of-the-Tournament performance in the RBS ODI cup earlier this year - where he top-scored with 490 runs at 163.33 - won him a return to the national team. Azhar Ali and Umar Amin, who have both been part of at least one ODI squad since June and were loudly trumpeted as the future, have been left out.

The team will also be without Kamran Akmal who has just undergone an appendicitis operation. Zulqarnain Haider, who replaced Akmal for one Test in the summer against England and scored a valiant 88, has been given an opportunity to build on that first impression.

Pakistan will already be without two key ODI players in Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir, both of whom are provisionally suspended by the ICC for their alleged involvement in a spot-fixing scandal during the England tour. Mohammad Asif, the third suspended player, would not have been eligible for selection in any case as he is barred from entering the UAE. There continues to be no place in the side for a pair of former captains, Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik.

There have been key changes in the management as well, the most significant being the return of Intikhab Alam as manager of the side. Intikhab, a veteran manager, takes over from Yawar Saeed. He was also coach of the side until earlier this year and in an inquiry committee after the Australia tour in January called his players "mentally retarded", as well as suspecting the motives of some of them in the now infamous Sydney Test loss.

Ijaz Ahmed, the batting and fielding coach on recent tours, has not been re-appointed. David Dwyer, the popular trainer who arrived with former coach Geoff Lawson, has also not been retained after the series in England.

Pakistan squad: Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Shoaib Akhtar, Tanvir Ahmed, Zulqarnain Haider (wk).

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 12, 2010, 15:31 GMT

    As long as Pakistan Have Chairmen like Ijaz Butt, Pakistan team is never going to get better. I sometimes wish imran khan would not have gone into politics and just helped the pakistan cricket instead but who am i to say whatever..

  • Dummy4 on October 10, 2010, 8:51 GMT

    ir really nice to see akmal out of the team even if it for appendix operation. his main job is keeping i don't think so he is doing justification to it. he should not come back without proving himself

  • baskar on October 10, 2010, 7:11 GMT

    Now PCB is waiting for the players list on the desk.How many players not yet named as captain.They are all eligible for the captaincy for SA series.but that would be decided by draw or musical chair contest.New captain for the next series will be decided after SA series with new method.PCB always do the things differently...common ijaz butt are rocking..ball is in your as much as you wish..

  • Dummy4 on October 10, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    I don't understand why selectors don't bring Imran Nazir for Pakistan T20 as well as Odi.

  • Dummy4 on October 10, 2010, 3:31 GMT

    I would like to see Shahid Afridi as captain and Kamran Akmal is back , because shahid afridi is best and both akmal is need in pakistan team , they are asome player , so i think that kamran akmal is back soon , becuse old is gold,,,,,,,,

  • Jishal on October 10, 2010, 2:40 GMT

    PCB has an agenda that, All A Class players will get a chance to lead the Pak National team for an indefinite term. Cricket Australia has introduced player rotation system and PCB adapted skipper rotation system as well. Wait and see!!!

  • farhan on October 9, 2010, 23:58 GMT

    i strongly support Misbah's selection as a Captain, he has a positive body language, physically fit and the best among the lot in the absence of younis khan.

    Yousuf is a Gem,he needs a bit confidence in getting his rhythm. he is the only complete batsman in this lot who is mentally tough to handle pressure situations. we should support him like the way india does with tendulkar. Yousuf is still world class. I miss Inziman as his place is not yet filled.

    body language of fawad alam is negative, he is not mentally tough enough to cope pressure, same is the case with umer akmal who does not know how to bring the game till the end. i mean both play at most important positions in the team. they should be replaced by misbah and faisal iqbal.

    sohail tanveer is excellent in t20 but i dont think he could do good in one day and test. sami is a moderate choice, he can bowl fast in uae conditions.Kaneria's body language remained negative in england series, hope he can do well in uae.

  • fouad on October 9, 2010, 21:53 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.

  • dheeraj on October 9, 2010, 14:41 GMT

    Imran Farhat does not seem to have what it takes at this level. Misbah being made a captain for the first time at the age of 36?? strange. Also where is sohail tanveer? Is he injured? They should have brought back younis khan. He did a good job as captain. He was consistent with his batting too and along with his fielding skills was an absolute asset to this side. He would have been the perfect man for the job.

  • Dummy4 on October 9, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    I disagree since the PCB has not served justice to Younis Khan who has led the team well from day one. One cannot underestimate his brilliance specially after lifting the T20 world cup. He is the only captain to have achieved such a feat after the legend Imran Khan. Also, he is a terrific performer in one day as well as test format.

    Ironicallly, the PCB has only penalized him in return for mystifying reasons yet to be disclosed to the media and general public which exibits a total chaos in the cricket board.

    Finally, i do pray that the thinktank can work collectively to supplement the national objectives over their personal gains so that cricket pakistan can restore its lost image. Some still agree, the great Imran Khan was a wise man to step down after achieving glory.

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