Misbah Pakistan captain for SAfrica tests

Saturday, 9 October 2010 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters - The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sprang a surprise on Friday by appointing Misbah-ul-Haq as captain for the upcoming test series against South Africa.

Shahid Afridi was retained as skipper for the one-dayers and T20 matches. PCB spokesman Nadeem Sarwar confirmed the appointments and said details would be given later.

The appointment of Misbah is a surprise given he was only recalled to the national team for the one-dayers and T20 against South Africa on Thursday after a gap of six months.

The 36-year-old, who has never captained Pakistan in test matches, last played in the T20 World Cup in West Indies and his last test appearance was in January against Australia in Sydney.

His return to the team and appointment as captain is seen as a stop-gap move by the board after the suspension of opener Salman Butt due to spot-fixing allegations.

Aamir Sohail said the logical choice for test captain was Younis Khan.

“But apparently the board chairman has his issues with Younis,” former test captain Sohail told Reuters. “Misbah is a short-term appointment until the board resolves its dispute with Younis.”

Younis was among seven players banned or fined by the PCB following the team’s poor showing in a tour of Australia.

National selectors announced a new-look squad for the two tests against South Africa by recalling opener Taufeeq Umar for the first time since he played against England in August 2006.

Also recalled was fast bowler Mohammad Sami, who was dropped after the Australian tour, while selectors also showed faith in youngsters Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Zulqarnain Haider.

Selectors have also relied heavily on spinners, selecting three specialist spinners in Danish Kaneria, Saeed Ajmal and Abdul Rehman.