Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday accepted the resignation of Shahid Afridi as captain of the Test team but said his deputy Salman Butt was not an automatic choice to take over for the rest of the five-day matches during the tour of England.
Afridi’s decision to retire as the Test captain means Pakistan cricket has seen four Test captain change since early 2009, when Shoaib Malik was removed after a home series defeat to Sri Lanka.
“I have accepted the resignation of Afridi as Test captain but he would continue to lead the team in one-dayers and T20 internationals,” PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt said from London.
“We had appointed Afridi as captain for all three formats of the game for the tour to England, but if he is not comfortable now playing the longer version of the game we can’t force him to carry on as Test captain,” Butt added.
The PCB Chairman said Afridi’s decision had come as a surprise and the Board would now meet in next few days to decide who will captain the Test team for the rest of the England tour.
“Salman Butt is not the automatic choice despite being vice-captain as it is the discretion of the Board to decide who should lead the Test team,” Butt said.
However, he declined to comment on media reports that he had asked former captain Muhammad Yousuf to come out of retirement and join the team in England for the series against England.
“I will not comment on that issue but we still have a lot of cricket to play and we need to re-group quickly. Afridi will continue to lead the team in the ODIs and T20 matches,” he said.
Afridi on Friday announced his decision after Pakistan’s humiliating 150-run defeat at the hands of Australia in the first Test in Lord’s.
Meanwhile, sources said that the Board is also considering recalling former captain Younis Khan for the Test series and the chances of either Younis or Yousuf being asked to take over as Test captain cannot be ruled out.
“The experiment with new players in the first Test backfired and Afridi’s retirement has forced the Board to rethink their strategy,” one source said.
Both Younis and Yousuf were not considered for the England tour although Younis was available after a ban was lifted from him in June.