KARACHI: Pakistan’s cricket fraternity has welcomed the country’s cricket board’s decision to retain Shahid Afridi as captain for the World Cup. However, former cricketers are divided on the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) tactics in delaying the announcement of the captain.
PCB ended weeks of suspense when it chose the experienced all-rounder to lead the side and named Test captain Misbahul Haq his deputy. The board decided against naming the captain along with the final 15-man squad which it announced on January 19 for the World Cup.
The delay created confusion, leaving the PCB in a fix as Misbah gained popularity after leading Pakistan to a rare Test series win against New Zealand last month. PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt rushed to New Zealand to resolve the issue and met with the team management and the two contenders besides senior players of the team.
“I have had detailed discussions in New Zealand regarding the captain and vice-captain and am pleased to say that everyone has fully endorsed this decision,” said Butt. “The decision has been made by the mutual consent of the team management and players.”
Qadir backs PCB tactics
Former Test cricketer Abdul Qadir has backed the PCB’s decision to delay the announcement saying the board did so in the best interest of the team. “We should respect the board’s strategy as it was aimed in the team’s interest, “ Qadir told The Express Tribune. “Afridi was not performing when the PCB deferred its announcement so they waited and kept an eye on Misbah who led the team from the front in the Test series.
“Eventually, Pakistan had claimed an impressive series win in one-dayers under Afridi, and now he has been rightly retained as the team leader,” said Qadir. “There is no point in criticising the PCB and it is high time that all of us former cricketers join hands to support the Pakistan team.”
‘PCB created unnecessary confusion’
In contrast, former captain Moin Khan said the board created unnecessary controversy by delaying the decision. “The board created unnecessary controversy and speculation, and should have made its decision along with the team announcement,” said Khan, while supporting Afridi as captain for the World Cup.
“It was logical to retain Afridi as captain after the team clinched One-Day International series in New Zealand after 17 years.”
Rashid Latif, another former Pakistan skipper, was also impressed with Afridi’s captaincy and expressed his satisfaction with the appointment. “Afridi has shown a lot of commitment as captain which is very important.”
Intikhab retained as team manager
Former Test player Intikhab Alam has been retained as the manager when the PCB announced the team management for the World Cup.
Alam, who made a comeback in the series against South Africa last November, is offering his services in New Zealand. Former Pakistan captain Waqar Younis who is contracted till the World Cup will be coaching the side.
The tour selection committee will be headed by Alam and will include the coach, captain and the vice-captain.
Former pacer Aaqib Javed will accompany the team as a bowling consultant, while Shahid Aslam has been named as the assistant team manager. Other members of the team management include Dr Faisal Hayat (physiotherapist), Saboor Ahmed (trainer), Mohammad Talha Ejaz (analyst), Mohammad Akhtar (masseur) and Wasim Ahmed (team security manager).
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2011.