Pakistan in Ireland 2011 May 19, 2011

Misbah replaces Afridi as ODI captain


The curtain has finally come down on Shahid Afridi's reign as ODI captain, with the PCB replacing him with Misbah-ul-Haq for the two ODIs against Ireland at the end of the month.

No official reason has been given for the move to replace a man who has led Pakistan to two ODI bilateral series wins - although against weaker sides - as well as a semi-final run in the 2011 World Cup: when contacted board chairman Ijaz Butt refused to speak on the topic. In 34 ODIs, he won 18 and lost 15 games; a stretch which included tough series against England and South Africa. However Butt had had told a television channel on Wednesday that "no assurance has been rendered to Shahid Afridi of retaining him as skipper for the upcoming one-day international matches in Ireland.

"I didn't give any assurances to anyone and we are still in the process of debating the changes for the series against Ireland which is also important," the PCB chief added.

It is likely, however, that the move came after the board decided they had had enough with Afridi's penchant for awkward public statements. The latest situation arose when Afridi returned from the Caribbean and hinted at unhappiness with coach Waqar Younis over matters of selection. The pair were never on fantastic terms - Waqar had preferred Misbah as captain for the World Cup itself - but held together through the World Cup. But differences grew between the pair during the course of the ODI series which Pakistan eventually won 3-2, Afridi unhappy at the amount of say Waqar wanted in the selection of the final XI.

Afridi was sent a showcause notice by the board and was due to meet the chairman over his comments as well as his relationship with Waqar. A report in Jang, the leading Urdu daily, said Afridi had spoken to the chairman on phone last week before flying out to the USA on a fund-raising tour on Tuesday and been assured that the situation wasn't a serious one. Board officials have also constantly downplayed the differences between the pair since Afridi's arrival, a situation which also led Mohsin Khan, chief selector, to the brink of resignation.

Last December, during the tour of New Zealand, members of the team and the board were also upset with Afridi's very public criticisms of the performances of the side in two Twenty20 losses.

Afridi took over as ODI captain properly in June last year, before the Asia Cup, having been appointed the Twenty20 captain the previous year. He was never given the leadership on a full-time basis, but first irked the board by walking away from the Test captaincy on the tour to England, one Test after being appointed. Misbah, currently the Test captain, now becomes the fifth ODI captain under the near three-year tenure of Butt; there have also been six Test captains in that time.

Afridi does retain a place in the 16-man squad for the two ODIs on May 28 and 30. Three changes have been made from the ODI squad that defeated West Indies. Opener Ahmed Shehzad, middle-order batsman Usman Salahuddin and fast bowler Sadaf Hussain have been dropped. In their place come Azhar Ali, Younis Khan and Umar Gul; Younis and Gul were both rested for the Caribbean ODI trip and Younis missed the Test series after his brother passed away.

Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Younis Khan, Taufeeq Umar, Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Salman (wk), Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Tanvir Ahmed, Junaid Khan, Hammad Azam

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 22, 2011, 10:44 GMT

    silly i started to hate pcb

  • J Ranjith on May 22, 2011, 4:07 GMT

    Ijaz Butt thinks: Oh, WICB are overtaking me, I should do something and prove my supremacy over tham!

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2011, 14:07 GMT

    Shahid Afridi Should be the captain of the pakistan team.Ijaz butt And Missbah both not good for PAKISTANI Cricket.

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2011, 11:41 GMT

    No Surprises - this kinda decisions are trademark of present P.C.B. think-tanks. P.C.B. think-tanks have everything - except BRAINS ! Probably m/s Waqar Younis co. have prevailed over Afridi. P.C.B. should've gone for a long-term younger prospect, "Hafeez" logically. It's the same old story in our country - "Murder of MERIT" - repeated in institutions everyday ! Saga continues !

  • Hari on May 21, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    Just hope they dont go bak to getting SHohaib Malik or Mohd Yousuf or Younis khan back in the team. Please give the youngsters a chance, they mail fail initially but will come good with experience. Appoint someone like an Imran or Akram or Rameez as the Chief Mentor for the Pak Team, plus get a good PR agency for PCB to rebuild image and credibility. Have a squad of say 30 Pak cricketers who have central contracts and include atleast 10 under 21 players in that Squad. Have a core group of around 7-8 players in the 25 -28 age bracket who can play both forms of the game such as Mohd Hafeez, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Umar Akmal, Asad Sahfiq, Wahb Riaz, Saed Ajmal etc. Please focus on this rather than than chopping and changing the team every now and then

  • Hari on May 21, 2011, 9:48 GMT

    I am an Indian and even I feel that this is ridiculous on PCBs part. Sacking Afridi is a mistake, appointing Misbah a bigger mistake. For all his shortcomings, Afridi did not do too badly in the WC. I think the PCB should be sacked and they should involve or appoint some like Imran or Akram or Rameez or Javed Miandad in the PCB. Imran had the guts and the vision to take pakistan cricket places and nobody had the guts to push him around. Pak cricket as it is has enough to deal with with the Akmal brothers and the other controversies, why self create new ones. Once clear example was one Pak diplomat shooting his mouth on match fixing before the WC S/f, then Ijaz Butt talking of quashing player power and now this. No offence meant but the efforts should be to reinstate glory back into Pak cricket and get International cricket back into Pakistan rather than creating additional controversies and killing Pak cricket.

  • M Vivek on May 21, 2011, 6:33 GMT

    How long will Ijaz Butt be at the helm? Please someone throw him out...He takes every decision as a spur of the moment.

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    misbah is choker we see it in big matches like t20 final 2007 and in 2011 semi final AFRIDI well lead the of the fornt and now pakistani more like bangadishy

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    @USAPakCricFollower: he is still looking better than Misbah who is looking like leading your side to a 2-0 test whitewash against that same weak WI team. Ijaz Butt should be taken to the gallows for this.

  • Zia on May 20, 2011, 20:31 GMT

    I am a Pakistani, but I am amazed at how much hype my fellow Pakistanis have bought into regarding Afridi. Look at this performance and he hardly qualifies to be on the team, much less to be a captain. Look at his batting avg. and his bowling is also not what it is cracked up to be. He wins 3-2 against a weak WI and again his own performance was nowhere to be seen. He gets out foolishly every time his team needs him to show maturity and leadership. Misbah is mature, and leads with his performance. He has carried the young team on his shoulders lately. That deserves the captaincy, not Afridi's hype.

  • No featured comments at the moment.