PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan has summoned Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq and the head coach Waqar Younis to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Tuesday for a review of the team’s performances in Sri Lanka. Shaharyar will meet the team manager Moin Khan in Karachi on Wednesday. Pakistan lost the Test series 2-0 and the ODIs 2-1 to Sri Lanka, prompting concern from the board ahead of the 2015 World Cup.
The meetings will be on a one-on-one basis. Misbah has Shaharyar’s backing for the captaincy ahead of series in the UAE against Australia and New Zealand, but the PCB could reduce the 10-man coaching staff. Moin’s dual role as manager and chief selector is also under scrutiny.
The pool of players that traveled to Sri Lanka remains the nucleus of the World Cup probables but the PCB is concerned about team unity, which according to one official, had deteriorated. With less than six months to go to the tournament, the PCB is reluctant to make major changes, and Moin had said Misbah would stay captain until the World Cup. However, ESPNcricinfo understands some players are not in favor of such a view.
The PCB persisted with Misbah as captain despite Pakistan being whitewashed 3-0 in South Africa in 2012-13, and performing poorly in the 2013 Champions Trophy in England. This was largely because of his prolific form in 2013, when he was the top-scorer in ODIs. However, he is 40 now, and his form has not been as good in 2014.
There has been speculation in the media that a lobby is trying to bring about a change in captain, with Shahid Afridi being proposed as the favourite. Afridi’s form, however, has been poor. He has been wicketless in his last six ODIs and his batting is unpredictable.
Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf was one of the voices advocating Afridi as captain. “If the captaincy remains with Misbah you can’t expect improvement in results,” Yousuf said. “He has been the captain for four years and has not been able to find a proper combination. I think it is imperative we have Afridi, who is aggressive and can lead in a better way.