In yet another of the almost constant reshuffles we see in the set-up of the Pakistan cricket team, there has been further fiddling with the administrative make-up of the team. Governing Board member Naveed Akram Cheema takes over as expected from Intikhab Alam, who was removed after the Pakistan team’s last international outing which saw an ugly fracas breakout between coach Waqar Younis and then Captain Shahid Afridi. With Afridi, for the moment retired from the game Misbah ulHaq assumes charge.
How these constant fluctuations in the management set-up affect cricketing performance is a matter of debate. But it is a fact that, universally speaking, sporting sides do well when there is consistency and cooperation between all the members which make up a team, including its administrators. Indeed, over the past few years, coaches have assumed an increasingly important position, sometimes taking on the duties reserved in the past for all-powerful captains. Pakistan’s problems with both captains and coaches are self-destructive. Indeed, the unrest and friction we have seen within the team is one reason for the perception that performance could be considerably better had there been true team spirit. It can be said without doubt that men like Alam, Younis and Afridi can all offer a lot to the squad. But this is provided they are able to set a good example for others by cooperating between themselves and acting with maturity.
What we also desperately need now is a captain for the future. The Pakistan team has traditionally done best under strong captaincy. AH Kardar and Imran Khan, of course, come to mind. While Misbah has been described by some including former coach Geoff Lawson as the ‘best brain’ in the cricket team, the fact also is that he is over 37 years old and the subject in the past of some controversy. We need to think seriously of the future and of a younger captain who can be groomed to carry the national side through the years ahead.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2011.