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Misbah will be captain till ’15 Cup

Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided to retain Misbah-ul Haq as Pakistan’s Test and ODI captain until the World Cup next year in order to crush apparent unrest in the national team over the captaincy issue.

Outgoing chairman of the Board, Najam Sethi, said on a television channel that there was some intrigue and politics going on in the team over the captaincy issue. “Even the media was promoting their favourites for the captaincy and there was something going on in the team,” Sethi admitted.

“That is why I decided that the best solution is to announce Misbah as captain until the World Cup to end all kinds of politics and internal issues,” he said.

Misbah, 40, has led Pakistan in all formats of the game since late 2010, but is not seen as a popular choice to captain in the World Cup by a particularly strong lobby within and outside the Board. The lobby has promoted flamboyant all-rounder, Shahid Afridi, as a better choice to lead the side in ODIs.

Even chief selector and team manager, Moin Khan, had at a press conference sometime back confirmed there had been discussions held on Misbah’s captaincy and on a possible change in captain. He later denied about speaking in specific terms about the ongoing controversy over whether Misbah or Afridi should lead the team.

“Misbah has led the side well and I thought this move would also give him more confidence and allow the players to just focus on their game. And I can also say things have settled down now with the announcement,” Sethi said.

Pakistan, meanwhile, will tour Sri Lanka next month for two Tests and a three-match ODI series. Misbah, earlier, had said that spin would be a key factor in the tour as he looked to Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman to beat the islanders.

The last time the two teams met was in January at the UAE, with Pakistan winning the one-dayers 3-2, but tying the Test series 1-1. Pakistan fly out to Sri Lanka on August 2 and start the first Test at Galle four days later.

“In Sri Lanka, spin plays an important role. The moment the third, fourth and fifth days arrive, spin has a major role. I think we have lots of chances and if we play to our potential, we have a very good chance to win,” Misbah said.