Realising a captaincy crisis is imminent, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is planning to appoint three young vice-captains - one for each format - in order to hone in on the one person they need to replace Misbahul Haq with when the time comes.
Coach Waqar Younis had recently urged the board to look at life after Misbah and the need to groom a young captain, one that has ample time to learn from Misbah and be fully confident and mature to lead the side when asked to do so.
Younis also held a meeting to ponder over the appointment of a vice-captain with a view to groom him and although the option to appoint three different captains was ruled out, the high-ups did look at the possibility of appointing two vice-captains — one for Test cricket and one for limited-overs.
PCB look for ‘clean’ individual
While Misbah remains concerned over Pakistan’s prospects - he only has two years left in him, according to the captain himself - the PCB wants to name a long-term vice-captain, a player who has the tendency to take up the role with seriousness, has a clean track record and shows consistency on the field.
On the sidelines of the meeting that named the team management on Thursday, the PCB deliberated over three names in line to take up the role: Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar and Azhar Ali, the first two for limited-overs and Azhar for Test cricket.
Not much to choose from for the country
“The available bunch for the role is largely untested but the PCB has finally realised the need to name a long-term deputy so that he can be groomed before Misbah goes,” a PCB official told The Express Tribune.
“The situation demands a lot of thinking and planning but the PCB is ready to invest boldly in the youth.
“Hafeez sits favourite right now while Taufeeq, who has captaincy experience, has also been discussed. Azhar’s name came up again and again because of his sturdy approach to cricket. He has a sharp mind, is learning quickly and is consistent with his performance,” he added.
Retirement, ban led to crisis
Pakistan developed a captaincy crisis after Shahid Afridi abruptly quit Test cricket one match into his comeback after the Lord’s defeat last year.
His replacement, Salman Butt, took on the arm-band with high hopes but was soon suspended and then banned after the spot-fixing fiasco.
“Naming a captain on a series-by-series basis is not the way the PCB wants it to happen. That precedent only took place following the spot-fixing scandal as, after Salman, the PCB didn’t have many options to choose from and Afridi was never the ideal option.
“Interestingly, Misbah is very keen to have a captain groomed under him and that is a good sign for Pakistan cricket.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2011.