Arthur likely to remain Pakistan coach, Azhar to get Test captaincy - GulfToday

Arthur likely to remain Pakistan coach, Azhar to get Test captaincy

Sarfaraz-Ahmed

Sarfaraz Ahmed. File

Despite Pakistan’s failure to make it to the knockout stage of the World Cup 2019, Mickey Arthur is most likely to retain his position as head coach, at least till the 2020 World T20.

Pakistan were knocked out in the group stage of the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales. Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men finished fifth in the points table — at equal points (11) with New Zealand after the round-robin stage. However, the Black Caps qualified as the fourth team for the semi-finals owing to better net run-rate.

On Aug.2, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) cricket committee will be reviewing their World Cup performance for which Arthur has already arrived in Lahore.

A Dawn report quoted sources as saying that initial deliberations over the appointment of the head coach, other members of coaching staff, new selection committee and captain had already begun immediately after the showpiece event ended on July 14 with England emerging as eventual winners.

The report further said that victories at the 2017 Champions Trophy and Pakistan’s attaining top ranking in T20Is under Arthur’s coaching are his plus points. And with World T20 nearing, Arthur will be the best man to head Pakistan.

The PCB is also mulling over split captaincy, with Azhar Ali likely to be made as Test captain while Sarfaraz will lead the team in limited-overs cricket. Azhar was removed as Test captain soon after Pakistan won the Champions Trophy in 2017 under Sarfraz’s leadership.

The report further said that Babar Azam may also be appointed as deputy to Sarfraz and Azhar to be groomed for future.

Earlier, former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar had also said that Sarfaraz should be kept in the team for his wicket-keeping and batting skills and not as a captain in any of the three formats.

According to Akhtar, Haris Sohail should lead Pakistan in ODIs and T20Is whereas Babar Azam should be handed over the captaincy in Test cricket.

Meanwhile, after drawing flak from all quarters for being involved in an online scandal with multiple women, Pakistan batsman Imam-ul-Haq has tendered an unconditional apology to the PCB.

Imam, nephew of Inzamam-ul-Haq, had landed in hot waters last week when a few women posted alleged screenshots of his objectionable WhatsApp and Instagram conversations, accusing him of misleading and manipulating them.

“Imam was remorseful and has apologised for what all has happened and admitted his mistake. He said the matter got out of hand due to a misunderstanding,” Pakistan’s Geo TV quoted PCB MD Wasim Khan as saying on Monday.

“But we told him in clear terms that, although this is his personal and private matter, we expect our players to adhere to the highest standards of ethics and discipline,” he added.

The top PCB official further said the board had viewed the matter seriously and spoken to Imam about it.

“We don’t like to comment on personal affairs of a player but we expect that our centrally contracted players will also show more responsibility being ambassadors of Pakistan cricket and Pakistan,” said the PCB MD.

“Hopefully we will not see such incidents again,” he added.

Imam was an integral part of Pakistan’s World Cup campaign and scored a 100 against Bangladesh at Lord’s helping his team win by 94 runs. But Pakistan, in the end, fell short on net run rate and could not make the semi-finals finishing fifth behind eventual runners-up New Zealand.

Agencies