Opener Salman Butt is all set to be named as Pakistan vice-captain for the forthcoming Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and the subsequent tour to England, according to PCB sources.
Sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said that chairman Ejaz Butt and chief selector Mohsin Khan had suggested Salman's name for the post of vice-captain, a move, which was also, supported by newly-appointed Test skipper Shahid Afridi and coach Waqar Younis.
"PCB chairman Ejaz Butt will make the announcement later this week when the team is announced for the Asia Cup," one source said.
The left-handed opener, who has been in prolific form in recent times, was made vice-captain for a short period of time in 2007 but was later unceremoniously removed without any explanation.
Sources said that with Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal and Younis Khan still uncertain for the both the series because of PCB bans and fines, the board had decided to opt for Salman.
Salman's elevation to the vice-captaincy is significant as many critics and experts still doubt whether Afridi would be able to justify his place in the Test side when Pakistan play two five-day games against Australia and four against England this year.
Afridi has been made captain for all three formats of the game recently but the hard-hitting all-rounder has not played a Test since mid 2006.
"Salman's promotion indicates that the board and selectors also want to have a proper back up to lead the team in the Tests in case Afridi's form does not justify his place in the side," one source said.
The source added that Afridi had backed Salman's appointment as his deputy as the opener had largely emerged as a non-controversial character during the probe into Pakistan's disastrous New Zealand and Australia tours.
Salman has so far played 27 Tests, 76 ODIs and 22 Twenty20 Internationals for Pakistan. He is one of the few players in the side who has a strong educational background.
Former Test opener and captain Aamir Sohail said that if Salman was made the vice-captain, he will have to be careful about his own form.
"He has to concentrate full time on his batting as he is improving day-by-day and his role will be important for Pakistan in the coming matches," Sohail said.