Shaharyar Khan tells media Pakistani captain was appointed till World Cup but can opt to bow out if he wishes.
Beleaguered Misbah-ul-Haq won’t be forced to stand down as Pakistan captain but the country’s top cricket official has claimed that potential successors are already being assessed.
Misbah withdrew from the third and final one-day international against Australia in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, after a poor run of form that coincided with four straight defeats in the 50-over format. He managed just 67 runs in the 2-1 series defeat in Sri Lanka and nought and 15 in the two defeats against Australia in the current series.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) appointed Haq as one-day captain for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and reiterated that stance after the defeat in Sri Lanka in August. PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan said the decision to lead the one-day team remains with Haq.
“I told him, we appointed you till the World Cup,” said Khan. “We were criticized 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 support behind him and he will lead. If he thinks leadership will not deliver, then it is up to him. We told him we will not push you out. This is the view of all three of us—Waqar Younis [coach] and Moin Khan [manager and chief selector].”
Khan said Haq was determined to put things right. “If he does, he is back but other names are of course considered as a contingency plan,” added Khan.
All-rounder Shahid Afridi, who Haq replaced as captain in May 2011, led Pakistan in Sunday’s final one-day and would be the top contender for the World Cup in February-March should Haq stand down.
Khan said that withdrawing from Sunday’s game was Haq’s own decision. “Misbah decided that he needed a break from the rather depressing scores he has had in Sri Lanka as well as here. The management also agreed that if he wanted to sit this out it is his decision. No one coerced him. He himself decided that this is the right time for him to take a break and see if he can recover in the Tests,” he added.
“He is depressed at the fact that he hasn’t been scoring and I found it very noble on his part that he said: ‘If the day comes when I get an idea that the team is suffering because of me, then I will myself say, let me go’,” said Khan, adding, “Misbah says if he is back to form then he’d like to lead to the World Cup.”
Haq will lead the team in two Tests against Australia, which follow the one-day matches. He has captained Pakistan in 76 one-day internationals, winning 40 and losing 33 with two tied and one no-result.