Shahid Afridi was born to lead

Afridi has the ability to unite a team, have people rally around him and lift spirits even at the worst of times.

Umair Qazi October 27, 2010
There is no better man than Shahid Afridi to lead Pakistan at the World Cup next year in February.

Afridi may not have the guts of Mohammad Yousuf or the honest command of Younis Khan, but he has something that neither of these men do.

Afridi has the ability to unite a team, have people rally around him and lift spirits even at the worst of times.

He may not do it by leading from the front with the bat or the ball, but the way he lifts the team on the field, no one can.

Even when he was not captain, his impact on the team was visible. Constantly encouraging the fielders and bowlers, setting high standards while fielding and just being out there in support is what makes Shahid Afridi such a central character in Pakistani cricket.

He's got the difficult task of uniting several senior players who have not gotten along in the past and set an example for young people who have just started taking their first steps in international cricket.

There is no better man to do this for Pakistan than Shahid Afridi.

Afridi's openness and honesty is what is needed right now. He was the first one to say that he doesn't have the temperament for test cricket - how many players have you come across who would put their hands up and say they are not good enough for test cricket? Not many.

Considering that he recognises and accepts his own flaws, he can pass on the same message to his team and they will listen. They will listen to him more than anyone else.

When I first read about Younis Khan's return, I was pleased. Extremely pleased.

But I also feared that it may trigger a new clash for captaincy between Younis and Afridi. After all, Younis is returning to a team that ousted him as captain. Yes, he played under Yousuf in Australia, but he has not played under Afridi before.

Which Pakistani cricketer does not want the honour of leading their country in a world cup? Every Pakistani wants to emulate Imran Khan.

Wasim Akram tried his best to get back to the helm of the team prior to the World Cup 2003 and it backfired disastrously.

Both Younis and Afridi have openly stated their ambitions of leading Pakistan to world cup glory in the past. Younis led the team to the World T20 title and Afridi had a major role to play in it. Will the roles reverse at the World Cup in 4 months time?

Younis was originally slated to be captain for the tournament, before his falling out with the team and then the board. His return, however, changes the dynamics immensely.

Younis Khan’s statement that he is only interested in playing for the country and not in the captaincy is a blessing, but then we all know that in Pakistan, what you say is not what you get.

For Pakistan to even have a remote chance at success, they need both Afridi and Younis. Afridi leading the team, and Younis as the key batsman guiding the inexperienced batting order, along with a hopefully fit again Yousuf.

We simply cannot afford any more clashes.

The next 2 series against South Africa and New Zealand will be crucial in building this new relationship between Afridi and YK and I'm glad that Intikhab Alam is there to help ease them into these new roles.

Its not going to be easy for either of them, but lets hope that for the sake of Pakistan cricket, we can have a drama free 4 months leading up to the World Cup in February.
WRITTEN BY:
Umair Qazi An investment advisor in Dubai who blogs at http://www.wellpitched.com/ and tweets @WellPitched
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

COMMENTS (14)

Nosheen | 10 years ago | Reply Well who eles will lead Pakistan?? Whilst i agree that Afridi's performance hasnt been upto par, he is under pressure, top order batsman play as if they are scared to make a single, last few games he come out to bat the team was in dismal postion and him being him didnt want to be under pressure and increase the ran rate so he took risks. I do think he needs to muture his game too bu on the other hand why isnt he the right person to lead? he has all the quailties of good captain, personality should be taken into account when selecting captain, u want someone that lifts the spirit of the team, honest, postive and aggresive he has all these qualities.
Adil8 | 10 years ago | Reply AFRIDI IS THE MOST OVERRATED PLAYER OF THE WORLD!! Even At The End of His Career He Doesn't Know If He Can Play Test or Not!! But Yes, In Pakistan Our Leaders are All Cheaters, Incompetent and Self Centered Just Like Afridi!! DOOM DOOM AFRIDI!!
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