Misbah-ul-Haq's decision to skip 3rd ODI vs Australia triggers speculation
Karachi: The trouble-prone Pakistan cricket team dressing room was once again witness to some drama and it took PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan's intervention to diffuse the controversy generated by Misbah-ul-Haq's decision to rest from the third ODI against Australia.
Khan had to talk to the media in Abu Dhabi during the third ODI to defuse the impression that Misbah had been coerced or pressurised into not playing the third ODI by the team management, which is totally behind Shahid Afridi who led the side in the match yesterday.
Although Misbah took pains to make politically correct appearances during the match to give the impression that everything was alright in the dressing room but former players still didn't spare the PCB for its sudden decision to hand over the captaincy to Afridi.
After Pakistan lost the match, former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar waded into head coach Waqar Younis and even manager/chief selector Moin Khan and the PCB for even accepting Misbah's wish to take a break.
"What is happening? what sort of message is being conveyed to the cricket world? Four months before the World Cup, we don't know who is going to be our ODI captain. The PCB and management is only adding to the confusion with their strange statements," Akhtar said.
Former test captain, Rameez Raja said if Misbah wanted to rest, a younger player should have been given charge of the team instead of Afridi.
"We all know how Afridi leads the side and making him captain at such a short notice only confused things further," he said. Moin Khan, who has made no secret of the fact that he favours Afridi for the ODI captaincy, also gave out a statement insisting it was Misbah's decision to rest from the match.
"No one forced him and he remains captain for the coming Tests and other matches in the future," Moin said.
Shaharyar also said that Misbah was not forced to sit out.
"Neither me nor management have influenced Misbah to step down, he has done it on his own, he is determined to return. I had a half hour chat with him. He says if 'I am back to form I would like to lead to the World Cup'," Khan told the media.