The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shahryar Khan on Monday announced Azhar Ali as Pakistan’s new One Day International captain. Wicket keeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed has been as the vice captain in all three formats. The ODI captaincy was left vacant after Misbah-ul-Haq’s retirement from the limited overs format. The selection of Azhar Ali as the ODI captain is just another mind boggling decision in the rich history of such decisions by the PCB. Lahore-born Azhar, 30, made his test debut in July 2010; his ODI debut came a year later in May. However the surprising thing is that Azhar was not even part of Pakistan’s 2015 World Cup, even more surprising is the fact that Azhar who has only played 14 ODI matches last played an ODI more than years ago, in January 2013.
The PCB may see Azhar as a sensible cricketer who can lead Pakistan well in the International arena but the way he has been appointed is a big question mark on PCB’s working. How can a player who wasn’t the part of the World Cup team be made captain? How can a player who hasn’t played an ODI in two years be made the captain? How can a player with an ODI strike-rate of merely 64 be even part of the team? The appointment of Azhar Ali is a blatant example of incompetence and a criminal lack of long term strategies in the PCB. Chairman Shahryar Khan also claimed that Azhar Ali’s performance & captaincy in the Pentangular Cup held earlier in the year was the main factor behind his appointment as captain. This utter lack of planning in the PCB is unparalleled and the highly paid board officials must explain to the nation that why there was no planning in advance. We wish the new captain all the best but demand answers from the board.