Karachi: In a surprise move, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is set to appoint batsman Azhar Ali as the new captain of the national one-day team and name wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed as his deputy tomorrow.
With Pakistan scheduled to tour Bangladesh for a Test and one-day series from mid-April the Chairman of the board Shaharyar Khan held a final round of consultations in Karachi on Saturday to reach a final decision on the new captain and national selection committee.
Ironically Azhar has not played an ODI since early 2013 when he played in Kolkata but apparently the support he got from captain Misbah-ul-Haq and coach Waqar Younis turned the tide in his favour.
Chief selector Moin Khan also met with the Chairman for over an hour and was told in clear terms his tenure is over, leading to the former Test captain leaving the hotel in an angry mood.
“I gave a presentation to the Chairman on what the selectors had done in my tenure and he seemed reluctant to accept them,” a visibly upset Moin said.
It was the first time one saw Moin in a public place since he returned home from the World Cup after the first two matches on the orders of the PCB after he had visited a Casino the night before the match against the West Indies.
Shaharyar later admitted that Moin had given him a presentation and also expressed the desire to continue as the chief selector.
“But I told him the cricket and executive committees want to adopt a new plan for Pakistan team after the World Cup,” Shaharyar told PTI.
Moin was seen grumbling about the treatment meted out to him as he got into his car and left the hotel.
Although the PCB is expected to announce the new appointments tomorrow in Lahore it was abundantly clear after talking to the PCB chief that the stake holders in the board had decided upon Ali and Sarfraz as captain and vice-captain choices.
“Apparently they considered other candidates like Wahab Riaz, Fawad Alam and Muhammad Hafeez but have eventually settled for Azhar Ali,” a source close to the Chairman said.
“The interesting thing is that Hafeez got just one vote when the cricket and executive committees had a joint meeting this week,” the source added.
Azhar has played just 14 one-day internationals compared to 39 Tests since his debut for Pakistan in 2010.
“The board will also announce Azhar as the vice captain of the Test side to Misbah and Sarfraz as vice captain to Shahid Afridi of the national T20 side. So the planning is very clear in the minds of the board stakeholders,” the source told PTI.
The board has also finalised the new selection committee and the source said Shaharyar personally was interested in appointing the younger former Test pacer Saleem Jaffer as the new chief selector but decided to go with the will of the members of the two committees.
“It has been decided to appoint Haroon Rasheed as the new chief selector and Jaffer, Kabir Khan and Azhar Khan will be the members,” the source confirmed.
“Haroon who is presently working as Director game development at the national cricket academy has been told he will have to relinquish all other jobs to become the chief selector and he has agreed to this,” the source added. Haroon in the past has worked as a national selector and coach of the Pakistan team.
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