ABU DHABI // Controversial Pakistan batsman Shoaib Malik is to captain the country for a one-day series against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi next month. Malik, who has been criticised by many former Pakistan players for his leadership and the team's recent poor form, is to remain as captain until December, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced today.
Eminent former players, led by Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Rameez Raja, have called for Malik to be replaced, questioning his ability to lead the team during one of the most troubled periods in their recent history. Pakistan were defeated in a four-nation Twenty20 competition last week in Toronto and also suffered an embarrassing early exit in the Asia Cup earlier this year. Pakistan are due to play three one-day internationals against the West Indies from Nov 12-16. The two boards of the respective countries are still in negotiations about also staging a two-match Test series in the UAE capital.
All the matches will take place at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium and are expected to be sell outs. Ijaz Butt, the new PCB chairman said: "Malik's performance will be reviewed when it is time in December. We are more concerned about the team's performance and that has to improve. "In the last 12 months, the board has distributed around US$302,663 (Dh1.1million) as bonuses to the players but I don't think they have deserved it."
The Pakistan team have also suffered from a refusal of teams to tour the country, resulting in the fact that they have not played a single Test match this year. Malik, aged 26, was appointed 15 months ago but has continually had to battle against question marks over his position. In an interview with the Karachi based Dawn newspaper he said recently: "I did not tell anybody to make me captain. "I was chosen to lead Pakistan and I have been doing the job in the best possible manner."
The former Pakistan captain Intikhab Alam recently said of Malik's captaincy: "I don't think he has the ability to keep players together. Malik is not impressive at all and the PCB should start looking for a new captain to lead the side against India at home." If Malik is replaced ahead of next year's Test and one-day series against India then his deputy Misbah-ul-Haq is favourite to take over. Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court has postponed a hearing into the PCB's petition demanding bowler Shoaib Akhtar pay a fine by Oct 24.
Akhtar was given a career-threatening five-year ban by the Pakistan Cricket Board on disciplinary grounds but that sentence was reduced to 18 months on appeal. In addition, the tribunal also imposed a fine of seven million rupees (Dh314,818) on the 33-year-old paceman. Akhtar had the ban temporarily suspended by the Lahore High Court but no decision was made regarding the fine. The PCB have insisted Akhtar pay the fine in order to be available for selection, although they controversially included him in the Twenty20 team in Toronto. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org