Pak captain for Asia Cup, England tour to be named on May 24

Lahore: The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ejaz Butt has said that the national team captain for the forthcoming Asia Cup and Test tour to England would be announced on May 24.

Butt told reporters that he was satisfied with Pakistan’s performance in the just-concluded Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies and it was sheer bad luck that the team lost to Australia in the semi-final.

He said PCB governing council members and selectors would discuss the forthcoming tours next week.

Butt, however, refused to speculate on whether the board would announce one captain for the Asia Cup and England tour or have separate leaders.

Opener Salman Butt is the favorite to become Pakistan’s Test skipper while Shahid Afridi, who led the side in the Twenty20 World Cup, is expected to retain the captaincy for the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and limited over matches in England.

Pakistan coach Waqar Younis, who is in Sydney, also backed Salman Butt for the Test captaincy.

“I really don’t see any other candidate in sight at the moment,” he said.

He also praised Afridi’s leadership qualities and said the all-rounder led the side well in the West Indies.

“He (Afridi) is learning the art of captaincy and is an enthusiastic leader,” Waqar said.

Waqar also asked the PCB to name the captain for a longer period so that the player could settle down into his new role.

The Pakistan coach also hinted that some new faces would be tried out in the Asia Cup and in England.

“I think the time is now ripe for giving chances to a few young players because both tours are very important for Pakistan cricket, especially since the position of senior players like Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf is not clear,” Waqar said.

“The England tour is the ideal place to give exposure to new faces as we have many side matches and it is a long and tough tour,” he added.

Asked about the inclusion of Shoaib Akhtar in the squad, Waqar said he had not seen the pacer bowl for a long time.

“But anyone who is fit and in form and adheres to discipline there is always a place for him in the team,” he said.