Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Amid a major restructuring of the Pakistan cricket team, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has appointed former cricketer Mohammad Hafeez as the "Director Pakistan men’s cricket team".
Hafeez's appointment — replacing Mickey Arthur — comes hours after Babar Azam stepped down as the national side's captain from all three formats, refusing the PCB's offer to retain the Test captaincy.
The board, along with the team management and skipper has been facing criticism over the team's below-par performance in the Asia Cup followed by early elimination from the ongoing World Cup 2023 — where the Men in Green failed to reach the semis.
"Former Test captain Mohammad Hafeez has been given the responsibility of Director – Pakistan Men’s Cricket Team," the statement from the PCB said.
"Hafeez was recently part of the PCB Cricket Technical Committee," the statement added.
Meanwhile, the board has also made changes to the portfolio of coaching staff.
"All coaches will continue to work in the National Cricket Academy," the PCB said while highlighting that the new coaching staff for the upcoming series in Australia and New Zealand will be announced soon.
Earlier, following Azam's decision to step down as the team's captain — after meeting PCB Management Committee Chairman Zaka Ashraf — the board appointed Shan Masood and Shaheen Shah Afridi as Test and T20Is skippers, respectively.
Masood will serve as the team's captain till the end of the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 — with the three-match "away" Test series against Australia starting on 14 December.
Meanwhile, the new T20 format captain Saheen, has led the Lahore Qalandars in PSL and has helped the side win the tournament twice in two years in the 2022 and 2023 editions.
The board, while commenting on the 29-year-old's decision to step down from the post, said: “The PCB respects his decision and continues to support him as a player.”
"He [Babar] is one of the best batters Pakistan has ever produced. He is our asset, and we will continue to support him," Ashraf said while lauding the right-hand batter.
"We want to see him grow as a great batter and now without his additional burden of the captaincy, he can focus more on his performances."
"We respect his decision and will continue to back him," he added.