Afridi may be wrong but Pakistan needs stability | Pakistan Today

Afridi may be wrong but Pakistan needs stability

Whenever one turns around there is a captaincy controversy or some change brewing in Pakistan cricket. Only last year Pakistan team had five different captains in all the three formats of the game. Towards the end of the year, Pakistan finally decided that they will have split captaincy. In limited overs cricket (ODIs and T20s) Shahid Afridi will lead the side while in Tests Misbah-ul-Haq, who had been out of the side for almost a year, was brought as captain straight into the side. Earlier in the year 2010, Shahid Afridi took over the captaincy in all formats of the game but just after one Test in England, he stepped down announcing his retirement from the longest format of the game.
He continued with the limited overs captaincy and did a reasonable job keeping in view the chaos and cacophony in which he had to take over and then “Spot-fixing” saga ensued badly affecting Pakistan cricket. Afridi continued to lead the side well in the ODIs in England and then against South Africa in the UAE (on both occasions Pakistan lost in the final game of the series to lose the series 3-2).
Meanwhile, Misbah-ul-Haq also started off well in his captaincy stint as Pakistan drew the Test series against the formidable South Africans 0-0. Then towards the end of 2010 and in the early part of 2011, Pakistan toured New Zealand.
The team registered Pakistan’s first Test series win since 2006 under Misbah-ul-Haq and then Shahid Afridi led Pakistan to a good ODI series win later on (their first since 2008). Then came the World Cup. No one gave Pakistan any chance of doing well, however, Shahid Afridi led the team appreciably well and literally led the side from the front ending up as the highest wicket taker of the tournament as Pakistan team lost to India in the semi-finals exceeding all expectations. Now the team is touring West Indies. Although Shahid Afridi has led the team to another ODI series win but his personal form both with bat and ball has dwindled and he looked either mentally switched off or else where.
Sources say that he wasn’t very pleased with the team selection on tour and the over-intervention of coach Waqar Younis in team’s selection. By speaking to media, Afridi might have acted boldly and made his point clear in the public but he went against the PCB’s contract terms which do not allow any player to bring or highlight the team issues in public. For this, Afridi has been issued a show cause notice by the PCB. The board management was also not been happy with Afridi’s impudent statements and interviews where he had spoken openly about team issues and criticised some of the PCB policies.
There were news that PCB might replace Afridi with Misbah or Mohammad Hafeez.
One feels that the PCB is right in censoring Shahid Afridi who at times looks like a blabbermouth. But replacing him as a captain when he has done so well in the last six to eight months can create more dissonance and disharmony in the team. Some issues are always there but changing a captain is no solution. The board management should show foresight and sit down with Afridi and make him realise his mistake. Some sources also say that during a team meeting in West Indies Waqar asked Afridi to put in more effort into his batting and deliver with the bat as well as the team needs it. This openness of Waqar didn’t go down well with Afridi and his relationship with him which was going smoothly before this tour deteriorated.
Afridi should also realise that while you are playing for your country and also leading the side you have to shun your egotism and face the facts. Pakistan team need him as a captain, a bowler and as a batsman so he also needs to pull up his socks in that regard. The way he led the team during the World Cup and instilled confidence and fighting spirit in them was indeed appreciable. His personal form might have been indifferent in the Caribbean but he is a proven performer and can be just shunted away. The board should make him realise his captaincy duties and if he has some issues with Waqar or the selectors then all concerned should sit down and sort things out. The board needs to show prescience and act professionally and think long term rather than taking hasty decisions.

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