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Pakistan Cricket Board hints at choosing new captain

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed was suspended for four matches after accepting that he was in breach of the ICC’s anti-racism code for his remarks against South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo, cricket’s governing body said in a statement on Sunday.

Sarfaraz missed the remaining two matches of the ODI series against South Africa as well as the first two matches of the T20I series to follow.

Sarfraz Ahmed, the captain of the Pakistan cricket team, made some loose comments in the second ODI against South Africa, which once translated to English, can be termed as ‘racist’ as well.

The comment, allegedly directed at Andile Phehlukwayo, was caught by stump mic during South Africa’s batting.

It was 37th over of South Africa’s inning and Shaheen Shah Afridi was bowling. Phehlukwayo inside-edged an Afridi’s delivery to deep fine leg for a single and as he ran off to the non-striker’s end, Sarfraz was caught clearly on the stump mics saying, in Urdu: Abay kaaly, teri ammi aaj kahaan bethi hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?”.

Translation (in English): “Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What [prayer] have you got her to say for you today?”

Following Sarfaraz’s suspension, Shoaib Malik assumed responsibilities of captain. Under Malik, the team won the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka with the fifth scheduled for Wednesday.

Shoaib Malik captained the side in the 4th ODI, and Pakistan won that match comfortably with 8 wickets.

Sarfraz Ahmed’s fate as Pakistan captain hangs in balance as he have to wait until the end of the Pakistan Super League to know whether he will captain the team in World Cup or not. 

According to the existing policy of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) they have to name captains on a ‘series-to-series basis’.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) representative on Wednesday has hinted that the board may choose a new captain after the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Season 4.

According to sources, the board has asserted that there is no ‘permanent’ captain of the team and the decision on new captaincy will be taken before Pakistan series against Australia.

“We never revealed the length of Sarfraz Ahmed’s tenure,” he said.

These revelation by PCB’s spokesperson has created so many questions like who will lead the team in the five-match ODI series against Australia in March/April.

Also Read: Sarfaraz Ahmad lashes out at his critics with a unique tweet

Earlier, when Ehsan Mani was appointed PCB chairman in 2018, he stated that Sarfraz would remain captain until at least the end of the World Cup.

“Sarfraz will remain captain till the 2019 World Cup,” said PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani after taking the charge last year.

Sarfraz’s captaincy has been under criticism since Pakistan’s defeat in the Asia Cup last year.

Last year, in T20Is under Sarfraz, Pakistan won 17 of 19 games; in Tests, they slipped to seventh while in ODIs they won eight of 17 completed matches.

Having his place questioned is nothing new for Sarfraz, but in a year in which he averaged 24 in Tests and ODIs and presided over a string or defeats in ODIs and some questionable losses in Tests, the captain-wicketkeeper was under pressure.

In a period of under-performance under Sarfraz, Pakistan exited the Asia Cup after losing to Bangladesh  in the Super Six stage and then lost a three-Test series to New Zealand in the UAE. As the year ended, Sarfraz bagged a pair in the Boxing Day Test versus South Africa which Pakistan lost inside three days.

Pakistan veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik has brushed aside rumours that he is now emerging as a real candidate to captain Pakistan in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup.

Malik — who captained the Men in Green in place of suspended Sarfraz Ahmed — led the team to an eight-wicket victory over South Africa in the fourth One-Day International (ODI) of the five-match series on Sunday.

When asked about how he is feeling about the captaincy role during the press talk after the match, the 36-year-old said: “When I got to the ground, I came to know that I was captaining as the decision was taken in the morning. My responsibility is to do whatever the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the team management is asking me to do. Other than that, I really don’t know about what is happening.”

Veteran all-rounder reveals he is not thinking about replacing Sarfraz Ahmed as full-time captain

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