Pakistan news April 3, 2014

Hafeez quits as Pakistan T20 captain

Mohammad Hafeez has stepped down as Pakistan's T20 captain, just days after the team's exit from the group stage of the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh. Hafeez has also relinquished the vice-captaincy of the ODI side as well.

He was given the T20 captaincy in May 2012 after Misbah-ul-Haq decided to step down. Misbah continues to lead the Test and ODI sides.

"As a Pakistan T20 captain I solely take the whole responsibility for the performance in the World T20 and decided to step down from the captaincy," Hafeez told a press conference after meeting with the PCB chairman Najam Sethi at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore. "Whether we played either good or bad I owe it as captain to produce results but it didn't happen. I had a productive discussion with the chairman and I myself offered to step down."

During his stint as T20 captain, Hafeez led Pakistan to the semi-finals of the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka. However, the team exited at group stage after losing to West Indies on Tuesday by a massive 84 runs. It was the first time Pakistan had failed to progress to the semi-finals in five editions of the tournament. Hafeez's overall T20 record stands at 18 wins (one via a one-over eliminator) and 11 losses from 29 matches

"I think as a captain I worked with all my honesty and tried to carry the team with a proper vision. The decision [to step down] is taken solely on the basis of the World T20 performance that wasn't up to the mark - the only major reason and nothing else.

"I thank all stakeholders who worked with me and players who executed my plans that were actually meant for the betterment [of the team]. I hope the decisions taken in the future will be good and taken in the interest of Pakistan cricket. Meanwhile, I am available as a player but will also distance myself from the vice-captaincy of ODI cricket."

Pakistan are currently facing a six-month period without international cricket and ESPNcricinfo understands that the PCB are in no rush to appoint a new T20 captain. Their next scheduled fixtures are a full tour against Australia in the UAE which includes two Tests, three ODIs and one T20.

Hafeez, 33, said he was ready to join the ranks under any captain. He declined to tip anyone as his successor, saying that it is the responsibility of the board. On Wednesday, Shahid Afridi offered himself for the role an Hafeez and there is a belief in some quarters that Hafeez has stepped down to create room for Afridi to take over.

"There was no such pressure," Hafeez insisted. "It's only my decision amid the bad result in World T20 and new appointment is the responsibility for the cricket board. Being a player I am ready to play under any captain."

Moin Khan, meanwhile, has offered to continue with his role as head coach, though his initial contract was only for the Asia Cup and World T20.

Moin replaced Dav Whatmore when the PCB pressed towards having a homegrown coach but Pakistan's results under him have been mixed although they reached the final of the Asia Cup where they lost to Sri Lanka. But Moin defended his position saying it was always going to be difficult for him to have a significant impact in a short period of time.

"Cricket remains the same whoever the coach will be but it takes time to and you can't expect anything big in such a short-time," he said. "We did make the Asia Cup final but until you have a long-term role you can't make any difference."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

Comments