DateLine: 28th January 2009
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday replaced Shoaib Malik with Younus Khan as captain of the national cricket team after a humiliating defeat against Sri Lanka, its chairman said.
Malik led Pakistan to their worst one-day defeat -- by 234 runs -- in the third and final one-day international in Lahore on Saturday, handing Sri Lanka a 2-1 series win.
"Malik has accepted to step down after the Sri Lanka defeat and we have appointed Younus as the new captain for an indefinite period," PCB chairman Ijaz Butt told reporters.
"We haven't sacked Malik. In fact, I met Malik and told him about the situation, as the whole nation felt disappointed over the team's poor performance and a lot of people wanted a change," said Butt.
"That is why I requested Malik to step down and he gracefully accepted."
Malik was appointed captain after Pakistan's first round exit from the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies. His tenure as captain was extended for an indefinite period earlier this month.
The 2-1 series defeat against Sri Lanka, however, sparked a furious reaction in cricket-mad Pakistan.
The sports committee of the Senate summoned Malik, coach Intikhab Alam and chief selector Abdul Qadir on February 9 to explain the defeat.
Butt said coach Alam and team manager Yawar Saeed were also asked to submit a detailed report on the team's loss.
Younus said Tuesday he would unite everyone to lift the team. He will assume his new duties in the two-Test home series against Sri Lanka next month.
"I will try my best to take everyone with me to lift the team," he said.
Asked about Younus having refused the captaincy on two previous occasions, Butt did not express concern.
"He (Younus) must have some reasons for not taking the captaincy," said Butt, referring to the moment when Younus refused to lead Pakistan after the team's exit from the 2007 World Cup citing personal reasons.
Younus also refused to lead the team in the Champions Trophy held in India in October 2006, just a day after he was appointed skipper, saying he did not want to be a dummy captain.
He was reinstated as captain, however, for the Trophy after Nasim Ashraf replaced Shaharyar Khan as PCB chairman.
Malik said he accepted Tuesday's relegation.
"Whatever decision they (the PCB) have taken, they must have thought about the best interest of Pakistan cricket. I have played as an ordinary member before, so I will play as player," said Malik.
Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq said Malik's downfall was written in the cards.
"Malik failed to handle the players," said Inzamam. "A good captain is not just about winning and losing, but how he unites the team and handles his players, and in this Malik was poor," said Inzamam.
Malik led Pakistan in 36 one-day internationals -- 12 defeats and 24 wins -- including a Pakistan record 12-match winning streak.
He also led Pakistan in three Tests, losing two and drawing one.
In contrast, the 31-year-old Younus has led Pakistan in six one-day matches, winning two and losing four.
(Article: Copyright © 2009 AFP)