As the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) mulls over the replacement of the aging Misbahul Haq, the 37-year-old captain of the team, former players believe the return of Shahid Afridi can resolve most part of the crisis.
While the PCB did not announce a deputy to Misbah for the upcoming Zimbabwe tour, reports have suggested that the board is considering grooming a player as the future leader of the team.
Pakistan coach Waqar Younis had also expressed his concern over the matter and had requested the board to groom a young captain while Misbah also admitted that he would not be able to play for a long time.
However, former players, who acknowledged the need for a long-term option, also believed that the return of Afridi is the best immediate solution to the captaincy problem as far as limited-overs cricket is concerned.
The all-rounder, who led Pakistan for over a year including in the World Cup earlier this year, announced his retirement from international cricket after citing differences with the PCB and said that he would not return under the current setup.
‘Afridi needs to return’
Former chief selector Iqbal Qasim believed a solution of the issue, given the current dearth of choices, is the return of the all-rounder.
‘Afridi’s return can resolve this issue,” the former left-arm spinner told The Express Tribune.
“When he does, a new captain can be groomed under him. Afridi has at least four years of cricket left in him and he’ll have ample time to groom a youngster unlike Misbah.
“In the best interest of the team both parties [PCB and Afridi] should show some flexibility and find a solution.”
Wasim echoes the same view
Meanwhile, former captain Wasim Akram also stressed the need for Afridi to come out of retirement.
“I won’t speak much on the issue but Afridi is needed,” Wasim told reporters in Karachi.
“He has a lot of cricket left in him and he can still do a lot for the Pakistan team.”
Former fast-bowler Jalauddin said a long-term plan was needed to groom a captain. “The PCB has not displayed good planning as it selects and drops players on an agenda.
“The board should seek the combined advice of the game’s technocrats, which will be helpful,” said Jalaluddin.
The former cricketer added that Afridi had shown good results after being handed the captaincy at a time of crisis.
“Afridi was the best available limited-overs captain and he proved it with the results,” said Jalaluddin.
“The PCB should ask him to return in the best interest of country’s cricket. Misbah is doing a fine job but Afridi will be needed in his absence.”
Former selector Iqbal Qasim
“Afridi’s return can resolve the issue. A new captain can be groomed under him. Afridi will have ample time to groom a youngster unlike Misbah.”
Former captain Wasim Akram
“I won’t speak much on the issue but Afridi is needed. He has a lot of cricket left in him and he can still do a lot for the Pakistan team.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2011.