Misbah can lead or leave, says PCB chief

ABU DHABI: Beleaguered Misbahul Haq won’t be forced to stand down as Pakistan captain but the country’s top cricket official said that potential successors were already being assessed.

Misbah withdrew from the third and final ODI against Australia in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, after a poor run of form which had coincided with four straight defeats in the 50-over format.

He managed just 67 runs in the 2-1 series defeat in Sri Lanka and nought and 15 in the two defeats against Australia in the current series.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) appointed Misbah as one-day captain for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and reiterated that stance after the defeat in Sri Lanka in August.

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said the decision to lead the one-day team remains with Misbah.

“I told him, we appointed you till the World Cup,” Khan said. “We were criticized for it and we will be now, even more, as he has not scored runs.

“But we remain totally firm that we have put our support behind him and he will lead.

“If he thinks leadership will not deliver, then it is up to him. We told him we will not push you out. This is the view of all three of us — Waqar Younis (coach) and Moin Khan (manager and chief selector). “Khan said Misbah was determined to put things right.

“If he does, he is back but other names are of course considered as a contingency plan,” added Khan.

All-rounder Shahid Afridi, who Misbah replaced as captain in May 2011, led Pakistan in Sunday’s final one-dayer and would be the top contender for World Cup in February-March should Misbah stand down.

Khan said that withdrawing from Sun­day’s game was Misbah’s own decision.

“Misbah decided that he needed a break from the rather depressing scores he has had in Sri Lanka as well as here. The management also agreed that if he wanted to sit this out it is his decision.

“No one coerced him. He himself decided that this is the right time for him to take a break and see if he can recover in the Tests.

“He is depressed at the fact that he hasn’t been scoring and I found it very noble on his part that he said: ‘If the day comes when I get an idea that the team is suffering because of me, then I will myself say, let me go’.

“Misbah says if he is back to form then he’d like to lead to the World Cup.”

Misbah will skipper the team in the two Tests against Australia which follow the one-dayers.

Misbah has captained Pakistan in 76 ODIs, winning 40 and losing 33 with two tied and one no-result.

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