Board chairman Ehsan Mani announces the decision in a press conference on Tuesday
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has named Sarfaraz Ahmed as the captain for the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup 2019.
The decision was announced by the board chairman Ehsan Mani in the press conference on Tuesday in Lahore.
Cricket Pakistan earlier reported that the wicketkeeper-batsman was expected to be announced as the leader of the pack.
The report stated the board has made the decision to squash rumours that started circulating after Sarfaraz’s four-match suspension imposed by the ICC under its Anti-Racism Code.
PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani was reportedly never in favour of removing Sarfaraz from the role. However, it was portrayed by different quarters in the cricketing circle that the board want’s veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik to lead the side in the tournament which is scheduled to begin at the end of May in England.
Speaking with the media, Mani explained his decision by saying: “From day one, I stated that Sarfaraz is our captain and I standby what I said before. We do analyse his performances but that does not mean that we were thinking of replacing him at any time. Sarfaraz is the captain on merit. We are number one T20I side in the world, and even in ODIs, we’ve made great gains. When he took over, Pakistan was number nine in the rankings, now we are fifth. Yes we are not doing great in Test cricket but we have to keep in mind that the team lost big players like Misbahul Haq and Younis Khan. So we need to give this group of players more time to settle down.”
When asked about why Sarfaraz is the ideal choice to captain the side, Mani said that in his opinion, no other player in the team has the quality to replace the wicketkeeper-batsman.
“I don’t think we have any other choice to be honest,” he said. “People talk about Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez but they’ve already announced that they are not going to continue after the World Cup, so I don’t see why we should name either of them as the captain for such an important event. Also I think we are lucky that we have a good option in Sarfaraz who is captaining the side in all three formats, as other teams have different captains for different formats.”
Speaking about PCB’s policy to appoint the captain on series-to-series basis, Mani said this practice is followed all over the world.
“I don’t agree with this [to appoint a captain for long-term tenure],” he said. “No board in the world give their captain any specific tenure to lead the side as it purely depends on their performances. But I have said this before and I’m saying it again that we never had any doubts regarding Sarfaraz’s leadership qualities.”
Sarfaraz has been captaining the Men in Green in the 50-over format since Azhar Ali stepped down from the role after series of disappointing results in 2017.
It was also under his leadership when Pakistan clinched the ICC Champions Trophy title in 2017 by beating arch-rivals India in the final.