Pakistan v South Africa in UAE 2010 October 10, 2010

Akram shocked by Misbah appointment

ESPNcricinfo staff

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has expressed shock at the appointment of Misbah-ul-Haq as Test captain for the upcoming series against South Africa.

"I was surprised when I heard that Misbah has been named the Pakistan captain," Akram told Mobile ESPN. "He has been out of the team since the beginning of the year and to bring him back as a captain was a bit shocking."

Misbah was a regular member of the Pakistan middle-order in all formats following his comeback to the side in 2007. He was dropped after a lean trot during the Test series in Australia that ended in January this year. Despite a surprise appearance for the 2010 World Twenty20 in the West Indies in May, few expected him to make another Test appearance.

Pakistan's current leadership crisis, following Shahid Afridi's latest retirement from Tests and Salman Butt's suspension for alleged involvement in spot-fixing, forced the board to recall Misbah and appoint him as their fourth Test captain in 2010 alone.

"They did not have too many choices," Akram reasoned. "Kamran Akmal is there but he is inexperienced. They have also tried Shoaib Malik. Mohammad Yousuf is making a comeback after a long time and he should just concentrate on his batting at the moment.

"If they have named him the captain for one series, it's okay. He is already 36 and the PCB needs to find a long-term solution to this problem. I do not know the vision of the selectors."

Pakistan have endured a torrid period following the controversial tour of England and Akram noted Misbah would have a key role as a leader in the South Africa series, both on and off the field. "Misbah will be under pressure. He will have to improve the image of Pakistan cricket. For Misbah handling the media and getting runs himself could be demanding.

"The wickets in Dubai might suit Misbah's style of batting, but you cannot take the South Africans lightly. They are a very tough opposition under any conditions. Misbah needs to work hard and make sure he earns the faith of the team. If he gets runs, everything else will take care of itself."

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