DUBAI - Pakistan allrounder Shoaib Malik has stepped down as captain of Karachi Kings for the remainder of the Pakistan Super League. Ravi Bopara has been named as his successor.

Malik told the Karachi management that he was not able to focus on his cricket due to the captaincy duties, adding that he was happy to sit out as long as the team was winning. "End of the day the team is suffering. Hence I decided not to lead the team in the rest of the matches (this season). It is possible that I can concentrate more on my batting, bowling, fielding instead of handling so many things," Malik said.

"I was struggling to focus on my own game. I'm hoping we put up a good show tomorrow and for the rest of the tournament."

Malik pointed out that it was not the first time a stand-in captain had lead a team in the PSL. "Perhaps the team can get better. Maybe if someone else takes the (captaincy) responsibility then Karachi Kings could start winning. We have seen in the PSL that if a player has not played some matches then the team has started winning."

Malik has scored 157 runs in eight matches, at an average of 26.16 and a strike rate of 113.76. Malik led Karachi to two group stage wins in eight games and qualified for the playoffs having finished in fourth place, ahead of Lahore Qalandars on a better head-to-head record. Malik’s resignation has come as a surprise since he remains the most successful T20 captain in domestic cricket and is also seen as a strong candidate to be appointed the Pakistan skipper once again after the World T20 when Shahid Afridi retires.

Malik’s resignation comes just one day after England all-rounder Bopara had to publicly make it clear he had no issues with Malik after finding himself in the middle of an unwanted controversy in the PSL. Bopara was candid during a post-match conference on Wednesday and questioned decisions by Malik to bat first against Peshawar Zalmi in a crucial qualifying match and also over getting just one over late in the innings.

Speculations had been rife about Malik not being in agreement with the owners and coach Mickey Arthur on some team issues which has only added to the woes of the Karachi franchise that was brought at the highest rate of USD 2.6 million among the five franchises.

Bopara is currently second on both the run-scoring and wicket-taking charts. In eight matches, he has scored 292 runs at an average of 58.40 and a strike rate of 137, behind only Umar Akmal's competition tally of 335 runs. With the ball, Bopara has taken 11 wickets at an economy rate of 6.57.

Karachi Kings will play Islamabad United in the second qualifying final on February 20.