New Pakistan Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq was not the first choice for the role, chief selector Mohsin Khan admitted. Mohsin said that former skipper Younus Khan had been the selectors' preferred option, but he was unavailable as his stand-off with the Pakistan Cricket Board continues.
Younus had a lifetime ban, imposed following the disastrous tour of Australia last winter, overturned by the PCB in July, however, the governing body are still unwilling to clear him for selection. With Younus out of the picture, the selectors opted to promote Misbah (right) for next month's series against South Africa even though the 36-year-old failed to make the squad for the recent tour of England.
The PCB has lifted a 12-month ban and halved a fine on the all-rounder Rana Naved, who was among the seven players banned or fined by the PCB after the tour to Australia.
"We needed a senior player to strengthen our batting line-up," said Mohsin of Misbah's selection to the team, while his unblemished reputation saw him emerge as a candidate for the captaincy of a team tainted by spot-fixing allegations during their recent tour of England, with outgoing captain Salman Butt one of the accused players.
"In a team where many of the players have had serious disciplinary problems, Misbah is one guy who has a neat and clean background," Mohsin said.
Misbah has only played 19 Tests and has averaged 33.6 with the bat.