DHAKA - The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) put paid to all speculations about Misbah-ul-Haq being replaced as captain of the one-day side when its chairman, Najam Sethi made it clear that the senior batsman would remain at the helm because of his impressive record.
"Misbah has the better record compared to others so he will continue to remain the captain," Sethi told reporters here when asked about speculations that the board was planning to change the captain for the 2015 World Cup. Speculations have been rife that the present team management are more in favour of having Shahid Afridi as captain of the one-day squad before the next international assignments of the team which will be from October when Pakistan hosts Australia in the UAE. "Yes there has been talk that Afridi could be a better choice because of his more pro-active captaincy," one source said.
But Sethi backed Misbah, saying he had done a good job of handling the team in tough times for Pakistan cricket. The PCB chief also said that in future players would be given six month central contracts instead of the present one-year contracts. "We will give six month contracts because we want to assess performance of players in this period. The present contracts are ready and players who don't perform in the World T20 will not be given new contracts," he added.
The central contract carries a monthly salary of between 250,000 to 340,000 for the players besides their usual match and tour fees and other sponsorship and bonus amounts. Sethi said players would now have to give their best to get contracts. "Fitness, discipline and performance of players will be monitored while giving out central contracts," he stated.
The PCB chief also said that the new selection committee has drawn up a plan to prepare the team and a pool of players for the World Cup in 2015 once the current World twenty20 tournament is over. He said the performance of the team management would also be reviewed after the World T20.
India series: The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Najam Sethi, is confident that Pakistan and India can play a short bilateral series after the Indian Premier League (IPL) this summer. "With India now deciding to host IPL matches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) it is a good sign for us as we can also play India at these venues if they don't want to tour Pakistan," Sethi told Pakistani reporters in here Sunday.
Sethi is in Dhaka to not only watch the World T20 matches but also meet with other board officials including from India. Pakistan is not scheduled to play any international cricket after the World T20 Cup until October this year and Sethi said there were windows available for a series with India. The PCB chief also disclosed that due to the refusal of teams to play in Pakistan since 2009, the PCB had suffered the loss of annual earnings of around USD 10 million and the board was looking at ways to recoup at shortfall which was badly hurting the board's financial health.
"We are working fast track on having the Super League T20 soon even if we have to organize it in the UAE because this is one way of improving our financial health," Sethi added. The PCB had also planned to hold the Pakistan Premier League in 2013 and had even signed up some players but had to call off the event due to refusal of boards to permit their players to play in Pakistan.
"Given the current situation it looks like we will have to hold the Super League in the UAE and we would like to have the semi-finals and final at Lahore," Sethi said. The PCB chief said that talks were also being held with other boards to not only organize some tours but also to update them on players required for the Super League.
No Test team has visited Pakistan since March, 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in which atleast six Pakistani policemen and a van driver were killed and some of the visiting players wounded.