Sarfraz Ahmed not guaranteed to lead Pakistan at World Cup: report
Sarfraz Ahmed has been Pakistan's limited-overs captain since 2016. © AFP

The status of Sarfraz Ahmed as Pakistan captain is not guaranteed into the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, according to Cricbuzz, with the currently suspended veteran facing the possibility of playing under a different leader in the future.

Cricbuzz quoted a PCB spokesperson as saying: “We never revealed the length of Sarfraz Ahmed’s tenure. We never said whether he was going to stay [as a captain] for one or two years. The PCB appoints captain on a series to series basis, and, as such, appointment for the series post PSL will be made in due course.”

Pakistan are currently in South Africa, with Shoaib Malik in charge of the ODI and T20I squads after Safraz was suspended for four international matches after his racial comment to Andile Phehlukwayo last week. Sarfraz’s ban ends after the second T20I next month, but the PCB decided to send him home from the tour.

After the end of the South Africa series, Pakistan’s cricketers will be engaged in the Pakistan Super League which starts February 14 and end on March 17. After that, Pakistan are set to play a limited-overs series in the UAE against Australia, followed by a tour of the UK before the World Cup begins on May 30.

When Ehsan Mani was appointed PCB chairman in 2018, he stated that Sarfraz would remain captain until at least the end of the World Cup.

Last year, in T20Is under Sarfraz, Pakistan won 17 of 19 games; in Tests, they slipped to seventh while in ODIs they won eight of 17 completed matches.

Having his place questioned is nothing new for Sarfraz, but in a year in which he averaged 24 in Tests and ODIs and presided over a string or defeats in ODIs and some questionable losses in Tests, the captain-wicketkeeper was under pressure. In a period of under-performance under Sarfraz, Pakistan exited the Asia Cup after losing to Bangladesh  in the Super Six stage and then lost a three-Test series to New Zealand in the UAE. As the year ended, Sarfraz bagged a pair in the Boxing Day Test versus South Africa which Pakistan lost inside three days.