Shoaib Malik appointed new Pakistan captain
Apr 19, 2007 - 9:46:37 PM

Lahore, April 19 - All-rounder Shoaib Malik was Thursday 'unanimously' chosen Pakistan captain, replacing Inzamam-ul-Haq, who quit the post after the recent World Cup debacle.

'He is a unanimous choice. He is the best man to lead the team,' Pakistan Cricket Board - chairman Nasim Ashraf said at a press conference here, with Malik sitting beside him.

Malik, 25, will be the captain for the Test as well as the one-day international sides until at least the end of 2007.

Malik's first assignment as captain will be a tour to India for the Afro-Asia Cup in June.

The Sialkot player is made skipper in the hope that the team and the nation would be able to progress after the first-round exit from the World Cup in the West Indies last month.

Malik has played 18 Tests with a batting average of 37.64 since making his debut against Bangladesh in 2001. In 137 One-day Internationals, he has an average of 33.56.

The appointment of the relatively inexperienced Malik came after senior batsman and former vice-captain Younis Khan refused to assume the leadership role for personal reasons.

PCB sources said they opted for the right-handed batsman and useful off-spinner over more established names like master batsman Mohammad Yousuf because they wanted a fresh start for the team.

Malik would face pressure to deliver and command a team that has several captaincy hopefuls including Yousuf and mercurial all-rounder Shahid Afridi. While Yousuf is an automatic starter in both the Test as well as ODI teams, Afridi's place is not so certain.

Pakistan, the World Cup winners in 1992, were knocked out of the ongoing tournament after being stunned by minnows Ireland March 17 in one of the biggest upsets in the World Cup history.

The following day coach Bob Woolmer was found murdered in his Jamaica hotel room. An overwhelmed Inzamam announced his retirement from one-day cricket and relinquished the captaincy.

Malik's bowling action has been reported twice, once in 2005 and then again in 2006, forcing him to undergo elbow surgery.

The only other blight on his career was when the PCB banned him for one Test in 2005 for allegedly throwing a domestic game in protest after his team was penalised for a slow over rate in another match. Malik later apologised.

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