MELBOURNE: In a twist of fate Mohammad Hafeez, not included in the original 15-man squad, will lead Pakistan in the second day-night international against Australia at MCG on Sunday.
Azhar led Pakistan in the first day-nighter at the Gabba in Brisbane which Australia won by 92 runs and while batting the Pakistan one-day captain pulled up a hamstring. After scans it was revealed Azhar will not be able to play the match on Sunday and will remain to be assessed for Thursday’s third match in Perth.
After Friday’s game Mickey Arthur was asked who will lead the team in case Azhar is ruled out and the Pakistan coach was speechless, saying: “its a good question but I don’t have the answer.”
Pakistan’s one-day vice captain Sarfraz Ahmed had returned home following his mother’s serious condition while another candidate Shoaib Malik, who could have taken over, is still nursing fever and sore throat and will be assessed before the match.
The name of Imad Wasim was also considered but the PCB management deemed it would be too early for the youngster although he had led Pakistan Under-19 and domestic teams.
Pakistan’s problems also grew when lanky paceman Mohammad Irfan also returned home following his mother’s death and was replaced by Junaid Khan.
Hafeez said he will do his best to address Pakistan’s defeats.
“It’s sad what happened to Azhar,” Hafeez said from Melbourne. “Almighty has given me this opportunity so I will do my best to win the match on Sunday.”