The country’s senior players need to act more responsibly and have to be mentally tougher, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram told ESPNcricinfo in an interview. The legendary all-rounder said that he was “fed up” with the attitude of the senior players in the team, who announced their retirement at will, and said that the habit causes needless disputes.
He also lashed out at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for its policy of appointing a captain on a series-to-series basis and termed it as one of the reasons for infighting in the team. “You announce the captain and then you back that captain,” Akram was quoted as saying on ESPNcricinfo. “There’s no point in announcing a captain for one series, because then his deputy will make sure he’s got his own bunch ready.
“Instead of waiting for their turn, they want their turn. That’s a problem”
Shahid Afridi, who was removed from the captaincy helm after the limited-overs leg of the West Indies tour, announced conditional retirement from international cricket, saying that he will not consider playing for Pakistan again until the current PCB management.
This followed a clash with the PCB, which suspended the all-rounder’s central contract and revoked his NOCs to play in foreign leagues while also summoning him to appear before the board’s disciplinary committee. But the dispute was dragged to the court with Afridi filing a petition against the board’s sanctions.
However, an out-of-court settlement saw Afridi getting his NOCs reinstated and being fined Rs4.5 million after he appeared before the committee. Akram said that the row could have been resolved earlier.
“Afridi came back to Pakistan with big hoopla, lifted on people’s shoulders, saying he was going to fight back.
“He should have gone to the committee hearing the first time, but didn’t go. Then he gets fined and everything is hunky dory now. So this kind of behaviour causes us to lose respect among the world’s cricketers.”
The former fast-bowler added that senior players needed to get their act together and not announce retirement every now and then. He used the example of former captain Younus Khan and said the players needed to be mentally tougher.
“He resigned twice from the captaincy, which is not right. Being the leader you can’t get upset about small things. You need to address the problems you face, not run away from them.
“Constantly retiring and coming back from retirement is not a joke. I’m also fed up with the attitude of some of the senior players. If the players do these things then the board will be annoyed too.”
‘In Pakistan, coach wants power’
Akram was also not surprised after reports of rifts between Afridi and coach Waqar Younis emerged. “The problem in Pakistan is that the coach wants power. He should be there to coach the team and support the captain. He can’t be above the captain.
“Gary Kirsten was the coach of India for three years. He was always behind the scenes, and that’s how coaches should be. I don’t understand why a coach wants power when it’s the captain who has to do battle on the field,” added Akram.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2011.