Pakistan Cricket Board confirms three appointments
Pakistan have appointed Shaheen Shah Afridi as their new T20I captain and Shan Masood as their Test captain shortly after Babar Azam stepped down from captaincy in all three formats. With no ODIs scheduled in the near future, the PCB has not named an ODI captain just yet.
Shortly after the resignation, the PCB issued a statement saying Babar was offered the option to continue as Test captain, while the decision to remove him as white-ball skipper was presented to him as fait accompli. “After consultation with his family, Babar decided to step down and PCB stands behind his decision. PCB respects his decision and continues to support him as a player,”
“Babar Azam is truly a world-class player and we want him to continue to thrive as a player,” Zaka Ashraf said. “He is one of the best batters Pakistan has ever produced. He is our asset, and we will continue to support him.”
Masood’s captaincy marks a remarkable ascent for a man who made his Test debut over a decade ago but never managed to nail a place in the side. He was repeatedly dropped after two or three Test matches where impressive scores were followed by extended barren runs, and went on to spend lengthy periods out of the side. A return to the side late last year for Tests against England and New Zealand produced indifferent scores, though the series against Sri Lanka in July was capped with his first half-century in 17 innings.
His first assignment is the one that Pakistan have historically found hardest of all, an away series in Australia. Pakistan have lost their last 14 successive Tests on the bounce, a run that stretches back to 1999, including five series whitewashes.
Afridi, 23, was widely tipped to succeed Babar Azam in the shortest format, and will see his first assignment come immediately after that three-Test series against Australia ends. Pakistan travel to New Zealand following the Tests in Australia to play five T20Is. That is the first series in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup next year, which takes place in West Indies and the USA in June 2024.
Afridi was appointed captain of his Pakistan Super League franchise – Lahore Qalandars – and enjoyed immediate success. The Qalandars have won both PSL trophies under his stewardship, becoming the first side to successfully defend the trophy. The PCB said an ODI captain would be appointed “in due course”.
Mohammad Hafeez appointed Team Director
The PCB also announced, shortly after Masood and Shaheen were appointed captains, that Mohammad Hafeez will be the team director, the role Mickey Arthur had occupied until now. While Aurthur has not been removed, he will not travel with the team. It makes official what is a significant demotion for him, while Hafeez, who does not have any previous experience as coach or director, will lead the coaching staff in Australia.
Head coach Grant Bradburn will also not travel with the Pakistan team to Australia and New Zealand, with a replacement expected to be announced shortly. Younis Khan is widely tipped to take over the role. It is understood neither Arthur nor Bradburn have been relieved from their duties, an action this temporary management committee likely lacks the authority to take. It has not yet been announced what roles will be assigned to Arthur and Bradburn, but resignations from the pair are not understood to be imminent.
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