Pakistan is the only team so far to have told the International Cricket Council that it will nominate its captain at a later stage. When that will be isn’t certain, but it has to be before the jointly hosted event by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh begins Feb. 19.
The main options look to be Shahid Afridi, a veteran of three World Cups, or Misbah-ul-Haq, set to play in the tournament for the first time.
Misbah led Pakistan’s test team in the drawn series against South Africa and the 1-0 victory over New Zealand, but will be Afridi’s deputy in the six-match, one-day international series against the Kiwis, starting Saturday.
Misbah, who has made six half-centuries in a row in tests, played only two ODIs last year. He was dropped after scores of 14 and 17 against South Africa.
‘It’s a mind-boggling decision,’ former test captain Rashid Latif said. ‘If Afridi is not to be the captain for the World Cup why is he made captain for six ODIs against New Zealand?
‘I simply failed to understand what’s the logic behind not naming the World Cup captain. Where is the PCB planning?’
Former legspinner Abdul Qadir and swing bowler Sarfraz Nawaz are in favor of Misbah being captain.
‘He has led from the front in the test matches and my advice to the PCB would be to name Misbah as World Cup captain,’ Qadir said of a player who has 442 runs in the last four tests.’
Nawaz said the PCB made the right decision by not announcing Afridi as the captain.
‘Afridi plays for the gallery (spectators) and doesn’t play for the team,’ Nawaz said. ‘He always falls to a false shot and I don’t think his bowling has enough venom now.’
‘I wouldn’t be surprised if he is left out from the playing 11 at the World Cup. He has to perform against New Zealand.’
Experienced batsman Mohammad Yousuf was left out of the 15-player squad on Tuesday that includes four specialist fast bowlers, three allrounders, two spinners and six batsmen.
Former captain Younis Khan and Misbah form the backbone of the middle-order batting lineup, along with Kamran and Umar Akmal. Afridi and Abdul Razzaq then come in and have the potential to torment any bowling attack on their day.
India, Sri Lanka, South Africa and England are the favored teams for the 14-team competition, but Pakistan’s win in the World Twenty20 in 2009 shows its players cannot be underestimated in limited-overs cricket.
‘Not many cricket pundits are giving our team a chance with so many things happening in our cricketing setup, but I think we have the ability to go all the way — even to the final,’ former test spinner Iqbal Qasim said.
The Pope is said to be recovering from a lung inflammation
The all-rounder hammered an unbeaten 104 off 48 balls to secure a five-wicket victory for Australia