ISLAMABAD: Wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed has replaced Shahid Afridi as captain of Pakistan’s Twenty20 team.
Afridi quit as captain after Pakistan lost three of its four group matches at the World Twenty20 tournament in India, but said he wanted to continue playing the shortest format of international cricket.
“I spoke to Sarfraz this morning and conveyed to him that he was our natural choice for this position,” PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said in a statement Tuesday.
“His appointment is open-ended. I wish him good luck in his new role.”
Ahmed, 28, played in all the four World Twenty20 matches, but batted lower down the order throughout the tournament despite having a good strike rate of 120.24 in 21 Twenty20 internationals.
Ahmed led Quetta Gladiators in Pakistan’s first professional domestic Twenty20 league in February before losing to the Misbah-ul-Haq-led Islamabad United in the final.
Pakistan is likely to play only three T20 internationals in the remainder of 2016, one against England and two against the world champion West Indies. Former Test captain Rashid Latif doesn’t think that’s enough to properly assess Ahmed’s ability as captain.
“The decision to appoint Ahmed is no more than damage control of PCB,” Latif told The Associated Press.
“The cricket board is trying to put behind what happened at the World Twenty20 where we could win only one group match against Bangladesh.”
Latif said the PCB should also replace ODI captain Azhar Ali and “bring in Sarfraz” so that the wicketkeeper-batsman could get more experience as a skipper in the international arena.
“Making him captain for only Twenty20 is not enough,” Latif said.
After being appointed as the captain of the Pakistan T20 side, Sarfraz Ahmed thanked the skippers he played under since his international career kicked off in 2007.
The wicket-keeper played during the captaincy tenures of Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi and Misbah-ul-Haq.
“Younis used to field in the slips right beside me and has always helped me,” he added.
Accepting the challenges he is set to face amid the controversy surrounding Pakistan’s cricket setup, Sarfraz remained hopeful that the PCB will assist him.
“I’ll try to give my input to the board as Pakistan’s captain while at the same time i’ll also respect the policies of the board,” he said.
“I’ll try to apply what I learnt in my 10-year long career,” added the 28-year-old.