September 25, 2003

Inzamam takes over captaincy from Latif

Wisden CricInfo staff

Inzamam-ul-Haq has been appointed the new Pakistan captain, starting with the forthcoming series against South Africa and the New Zealand tour later this year, it was announced today. Also in the squad to face the South Africans were Rashid Latif, who resigned as captain yesterday, and the recalled Mushtaq Ahmed.

Inzamam recently led Pakistan to a 5-0 whitewash against Bangladesh while Latif was serving a five-match ban for an incident in the Multan Test. Inzamam's appointment caps off a remarkable turnaround in fortune and favour. Only a month ago he was in the international wilderness, and although he was recalled to bolster Pakistan's middle order in the first Test against Bangladesh, he made a duck in the first innings and only mustered another 88 runs in his next three knocks. But his matchwinning unbeaten 138 in the one-wicket victory at Multan showed that he still has what it takes.

Lt-Gen. Tauqir Zia, the chairman of the Pakistan board, said in a statement: "I had a lengthy discussion with Inzamam-ul-Haq and he looks geared up and motivated to lead the Pakistan team. He understands that he has a tough job in hand and realizes that he not only has to lead the team in a tough series against South Africa but also continue the good job done by Rashid."

Inzamam added: "I am delighted that the establishment has put faith in my abilities. I will put in my best and will try to carry on the good work done by Rashid Latif. There will be pressure on me. But I guess after playing for 13-odd years, one has to raise his hand and say yes I can handle this pressure and shoulder the hopes of millions of Pakistan supporters."

Mushtaq's recall rounds off a remarkable year for him after his 100-wicket haul for Sussex in English county cricket. Aamer Sohail, Pakistan's chairman of selectors, said of him: "The opposition [in England] might not be as tough as the South Africans. But the great thing is that he is bowling well and taking a lot of wickets. There is no denying the fact that a lot is expected of him in the forthcoming series."

The revised series against South Africa starts on Oct 3, with the first one-day international at Lahore.

Mohammad Hafeez, Yasir Hameed, Yousuf Youhana, Inzamam-ul-Haq (capt), Younis Khan, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik, Rashid Latif (wk), Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Shabbir Ahmed, Saqlain Mushtaq, Mushtaq Ahmed, Faisal Iqbal, Salman Butt.

Reserves: Asim Kamal, Imran Farhat, Faisal Athar, Danish Kaneria, Kamran Akmal (wk), Abdul Rauf.