Gary Kirsten to have final say on team's vice-captaincy issue

Sources blame uncertainty due to previous regime's mishandling of issue that selectors chose against appointing Babar's deputy

Abdul Mohi Shah
May 27, 2024
Gary Kirsten to have final say on teams vice-captaincy issue
Pakistan's skipper Babar Azam pictured alongside national side's white-ball coash Gary Kirsten in this image released on May 24, 2024. — X/TheRealPCB

ISLAMABAD:Pakistan's white-ball head coach Gary Kirsten has been given the authority to have the final say on the appointment of the national side's vice-captain if needed, The News reported on Monday.

The development comes after six out of the seven Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) selectors voted against appointing a vice-captain for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024 set to commence on June 1.

"Since so many ifs and buts were involved due to mishandling of the captaincy and vice-captaincy issues by the previous regime six selectors believed that no one should be appointed as deputy to Babar Azam," a source told the publication, adding that the team management headed by Gary will be responsible for appointing vice-captaincy if ever there comes a requirement.

"It was a better option not to offer the position to anyone for the World Cup," the source added.

On Saturday, Geo News, citing sources, reported that pacer Shaheen Afridi had declined the PCB's offer to become vice-captaincy for the national side.

The left-arm fast bowler's refusal came after the board reinstated Babar and replaced him as the team's T20 captain in March in response to the recommendation of the newly formed selection committee.

The sources added that left-arm fast was “not prepared” to take the responsibility of vice-captaincy.

Senior sports journalist Abdul Majid Bhatti toldGeo Newsthat Afridi took it very seriously after being stripped of the T20 captaincy just after five matches. He added that the pacer decided to focus on his cricket instead of affecting the team’s unity ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Bhatti said that the pacer’s father-in-law Shahid Afridi used to guide him regarding his career decisions and the latter advised him to only focus on performance which led him to many opportunities to lead his side in future.

Furthermore, sources have told The News that the PCB Management Committee, which was operating on a temporary basis, did not have a mandate to appoint or make any changes in captaincy which it did by replacing Babar with Shaheen.

"That one wrong decision of shuffling with the captaincy complicated the issue and brought to the fore so many contenders creating an unnecessary race for different positions. A good majority of selectors for this very reason voted against appointing a deputy to Babar Azam during the World Cup.

"If ever Babar leaves the field or is forced to skip a match, Gary will have the powers to decide on Babar's deputy to marshal the field," the source noted.

Informed sources have told the publication that onceShaheen was removed from captaincy ahead of the series against New Zealand at home, he was unofficially consulted by a selector about taking over the vice-captaincy.

"To cool down the situation, there was a suggestion that Shaheen Afridi should be appointed vice-captain instead. One of the selectors in an informal talk with Shaheen suggested the position before the series against New Zealand to which Shaheen refused. No official offer was made to the speedster to be the team’s vice-captain at any time," the source said.