LAHORE: The appointment of Shahid Afridi as Pakistan’s captain for all formats of the game has drawn mixed reactions from former internationals.
While the majority see the appointment as a positive move from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), and that the board had no other choice, a few have delivered a stinging criticism as appointing someone captain of the format he has not featured in for almost four years.
“When a player who is not interested in Test cricket and also claimed that he won’t change his playing style according to the particular format then how could the board rely on such player to lead the side,” Zaheer Abbas told The Express Tribune. “By appointing him as captain, Pakistan cricket has gone back five years.”
According to Abbas, the PCB should work for the future of the game instead of going towards a decline and that the board took the decision without any calculations.
“How can you justify someone’s appointment as captain when he has been out of Test cricket for the last four years and is not even an automatic choice for the starting line-up.
“Our current players have no leadership quality but the ones who did emerge as automatic choice for the captaincy, people around the cricketing body never allowed him a long run,” added Abbas, referring to Younus Khan’s demise as a captain. “I think Afridi will suffer as a captain in England because he’s not ready to adapt himself according to particular format.” On the contrary, former fastbowler Jalaluddin alluded to the fact that a change at the helm will not solve Pakistan cricket’s on-going problems.
“No matter who the captain is, the results will be the same until the dressing room differences exist in the team,” said Jalaluddin. “Surprising, the individuals who spoke against the team management are still part of the team and with that, you can’t expect an improvement. And if things remain the same, you cant expect any sort of performance from the team.”
Jalauddin, however, backed Afridi’s appointment given that he was the only viable option from the pool of players currently available to Pakistan.
“I don’t believe Afridi will be able to gel the team together as he is stating but then the PCB has no other option besides him as the captain,” he added while showing his concern at the downward graph of Pakistan cricket.
Former chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed, too, backed the PCB’s decision and lashed out at former cricketers questioning the all-rounder’s position in the Test squad.
“The Pakistan team is in a rebuilding process right now and who better than Afridi to appoint as captain,” he said. “Afridi has proven his ability in the past and I don’t see anyone other than him to lead Pakistan. The former players criticising the captain are forgetting that in their times they had the world’s best cricketers playing alongside them. I’m sure Afridi will prove his worth in all formats of the game.” Former captain and chief selector Aamir Sohail was equally disappointed with Afridi’s appointment and said it would be tough for the 30-year-old all-rounder to lead the Pakistan in England.
“The board has taken its decision but it is a debatable one. It is a big gamble and I think he’ll be really tested in England as he has been out of the Test side for four years now,” said Sohail.
STEP BACKWARD - Zaheer Abbas
“How can you justify someone’s appointment as captain when he has been out of Test cricket for the last four years and is not even an automatic choice for the starting line-up. By appointing him as captain, Pakistan cricket has gone back five years.”
REALISATION - Abdul Qadir
“Captaincy is just an honour. We made captaincy a magic wand of sorts that by appointing someone as captain, we can lead our team out of trouble. We should come out of the fantasy world and each players must realise his own responsibility instead rotating around the captain.”
WORTHY CHOICE - Salahuddin Ahmed
“The Pakistan team is in a rebuilding process right now and who better than Afridi to appoint as captain. He’s proven his ability in the past and I don’t see anyone other than him to lead Pakistan. I’m sure Afridi will prove his worth in all formats of the game.”
GAMBLE - Aamir Sohail
“The Pakistan Cricket Board has taken its decision regarding the captaincy but it is a debatable one as things stand. It is a big gamble and I think Afridi will be really tested in England especially given how he has been out of the Test side for four years.”
Published in the Express Tribune, May 27th, 2010.