Karachi: Waqar Younis will retain the Pakistan captaincy for the upcoming series against Australia but is under orders to improve his team's dismal recent record, the country's cricket chief said on Monday.
"We are retaining Waqar for the Australian series and will continue to monitor his performance as well as that of his team and maintain our policy of naming a captain series by series," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Lieutenant General Tauqir Zia said. "We want him to motivate the boys and try to put the team back on its winning ways," he said. Waqar was last month appointed captain only for the current International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka. Experienced paceman Wasim Akram and opener Saeed Anwar have opted out of the upcoming series while ace batsman Inzamam-ul Haq has a heel injury. Zia disclosed that wicket-keeper Rashid Latif has also asked for a break. "We have recalled Moin Khan primarily because we have been informed by the team management that Latif also wanted a break from international cricket," he said. Khan, sacked as captain last year, was Saturday named among the 22 probables for the series against Australia. The withdrawals have sparked talk of a crisis in Pakistan cricket and local media had speculated about a possible revolt against Waqar. The PCB chief declined to comment. Pakistan meets Australia in the first Test in Colombo from October 3-7. The remaining two Tests will be played in Sharjah from October 11-15 and 19-23. The series was shifted to neutral venues after the Australians refused to tour Pakistan due to safety fears. Pakistan lost three of its four matches in the Morocco Cup against South Africa and Sri Lanka in August. They then crashed to humiliating defeats at the hands of the Aussies in the tri-series One-day tournament in Kenya earlier this month. Pakistan also lost its opening game against Sri Lanka in the Champions Trophy last week and is virtually out of contention for a semi-final berth. Zia said the future of coach Mudassar Nazar would be decided after he returns home Monday. He said he wanted Nazar to explain how a team winning in Australia in June could perform "so dismally recently." Insiders said South-African based coach Richard Pybus is set to return. He had refused to be based in Pakistan in the wake of security fears following the September 11 attacks last year. Pakistan has run through a succession of coaches in the last four years, replacing Javed Miandad, Intikhab Alam, Pybus, Haroon Rasheed, Wasim Raja and Mushtaq Mohammad. If the performance of the team is poor, then the coach is equally responsible, Zia said.
PCB sacks Nazar, puts Waqar's extension on hold