PCB chief leaves for New Zealand to decide on WC captain

Karachi: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ejaz Butt has secretly left for New Zealand to "sort out" the captaincy issue that is threatening to hamper the team`s World Cup hopes.

According to sources, Butt has left for Wellington to be with the Pakistan team which will play six One-day Internationals against New Zealand starting Jan 22.

Sources said the PCB chief has asked the board officials to keep his visit secret as he wants to quietly hold a few meetings Thursday and Friday before deciding Pakistan`s captain for the World Cup beginning in the subcontinent Feb 19.

"Ejaz Butt wants to sort out the captaincy issue after meeting some key players and team officials in New Zealand," said a source.

Pakistan announced its 15-man squad for the mega event earlier this week but surprisingly opted against naming the captain.

This added fuel to speculations that the PCB is not happy with One-day captain Shahid Afridi and is mulling the option of replacing him with Misbah-ul-Haq, who recently led Pakistan to a Test series triumph against New Zealand.

"Butt will hold meetings with Afridi, Misbah and also with Pakistan coach Waqar Younis in Wellington before taking a decision on the captaincy issue," the source added.