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Did PCB make a U-turn on Sarfaraz’s captaincy?

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani has announced that Sarfaraz Ahmed will lead the national cricket team in the upcoming tour of Australia and more importantly, in the ICC World Cup 2019.

There had been speculation about Sarfaraz being dropped following the team’s performance in the Tests and ODIs in South Africa and the skipper’s racist comment and subsequent suspension.

The question now is, did the PCB make a U-turn or cave in to pressure by retaining Sarfaraz as captain?

Let’s dive into the facts.

On Saturday, PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani called Sarfaraz Ahmed from London and asked him to be present in Lahore on Tuesday, as he would be named captain for the World Cup.

On Monday, the PCB called a press conference to let reporters know that an important matter was to be discussed. If the PCB was about to retain Sarfaraz as captain, its press release from January 30 was stating something else. In this press release, it was stated that the decision to retain Sarfaraz as captain would be made after the Pakistan Super League (PSL), and that the appointment was made on a series by series basis. Following the PSL in March, Pakistan’s skipper for the Australia series would be announced.

According to sources, after speculation in the media a call was made to Sarfaraz on Saturday and he was told of being appointed skipper for the World Cup.

A spokesperson for the PCB has admitted that the press release was being construed incorrectly and there was a need to put an end to the speculation. The spokesperson denied that the decision was taken under pressure, adding Sarfaraz was called from South Africa on an urgent basis and the chairman had no reservations on his captaincy.

The PCB spokesman further said the board was clear on Sarfaraz leading the side in the World Cup and the chairman used his discretionary powers for the appointment; Mickey Arthur and Inzamam ul Haq were consulted and both agreed with the decision.

According to the spokesperson, the announcement was delayed because of Ehsan Mani not being in Pakistan.

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