The PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan has said Misbah-ul-Haq had opted out of the third ODI against Australia in Abu Dhabi on his own accord, and that the board had left it up to him whether he wanted to remain captain until the 2015 World Cup.
"Misbah ul Haq decided that he needed a break from the rather depressing scores he has had in SL as well as here," Shaharyar said in Abu Dhabi. "The management also agreed that if he wants to sit this out, it is his own decision. No one coerced him into doing this. He himself decided that this is the right time for him to take a break and see if he can recover in the Tests."
Misbah has averaged only 22.50 in ten ODIs in 2014 and his last five scores before he sat out were 13, 36, 18, 0, 15. The news of Misbah skipping the final ODI broke after the team meeting on the eve of the match and sparked speculation that the team management had forced him to step down and allow a younger player an opportunity, because Australia had already won the series 2-0.
"He is a human being, he is depressed at the fact that he hasn't been scoring and when you don't score and you are a skipper the whole team suffers," Shaharyar said. "So what I found very noble on his part is that he said, 'The day I get an idea that the team is suffering because of me, then I will say myself, let me go. But I have hopes right now that I can recover from this, and show my mettle. Every batsman comes to this.'"
In the last year, the PCB has asserted on various occasions that Misbah will remain the ODI captain until the 2015 World Cup, but that hasn't prevented a sense of uncertainty around his position. There has been talk of Shahid Afridi being a contender for the captaincy.
"I or the management have not influenced Misbah to step down," Shaharyar said. "He has done it on his own, he is determined to return. I had a half hour chat with him. He says if I am back to form I would like to lead in the World Cup. I said, 'We appointed you till the World Cup.' We were criticised for it and we will be now even more as he has not scored runs.
"But we remain totally firm that we have put our bandwagon behind him and he will lead. If you yourself think your leadership will not deliver, then it is up to you. We will not push you. This is the view of all three of us - Waqar [Younis, coach] and Moin [Khan, chief selector], and I have told Misbah this. So this is where we stand. He is determined to put things right, if he does he is back. We have considered other names of course as a contingency but it is up to him."
Moin Khan also said Afridi was just a stand-in captain in the third ODI against Australia. "For the remainder of the series, as appointed by the chairman, Misbah remains the captain," he said. "Misbah wanted to rest himself from the dead-rubber against Australia and Afridi was a stand-in captain for this game only."