Imam-ul-Haq dismisses speculation over Pakistan playing in World Cup under new captain

Imam-ul-Haq dismisses speculation over Pakistan playing in World Cup under new captain

Imam finished as the highest scorer from either side in the ODI series.

Imam-ul-Haq
Imam-ul-Haq/ (Photo by CHRISTIAAN KOTZE/AFP/Getty Images)

Sarfaraz Ahmed was doing a decent job as the captain of Pakistan in all three formats till that game in Durban last month where he abused South African cricketer Andile Phehlukwayo in racial terms to face a four-match ban. The wicketkeeper-batsman was replaced by veteran Shoaib Malik and was asked by his country’s cricket board to fly back home. Although three of the four games for which the 31-year-old has been suspended are over, the incident has given rise to speculation that Pakistan could be playing in the upcoming World Cup under a new leader.

Pakistan’s young opener Imam-ul-Haq, who had a successful run with the bat in the recent ODI series against the Proteas scoring a hundred and two fifties, however, denied that the Men in Green will play under a different captain in the mega event. Ahmed called Phehlukwayo “black guy” out of frustration after the latter narrowly escaped a dismissal in the match. Though Sarfaraz later apologised publicly for his words, the International Cricket Council (ICC) penalised him for violating anti-racism laws.

‘Shoaib Malik only a stand-by captain’

“Sarfaraz is our captain for the past two years; there are no changes, as he is only out for four or five games due to the ICC’s suspension. Meanwhile, Shoaib Malik is serving as the stand-by captain due to Sarfaraz’s suspension,” said Imam, while talking to local media, after returning to his country.

Pakistan came back strongly to level the ODI series under Malik’s captaincy after Sarfaraz was handed the ban but lost the deciding match to concede the series 2-3. Pakistan, ranked No.1 in T20Is, then went to lose two games by 6 and 7 runs, respectively, to squander the three-game series 0-2.

Imam, related to Pakistan’s chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, finished as the highest scorer from either side in the ODI series and also bagged the Man of the Series award. He also became the second fastest to score 1,000 runs in the 50-overs format, next only to his opening partner Fakhar Zaman.

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