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LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP!

Written by Omair Alavi

By: Omair Alavi Pakistan Cricket Board is of the habit of taking decisions without worrying about their consequences, rather than making an informed decision on any matter. From team selection to management of domestic matches, they are always found lacking. With the second season of Pakistan Super League just 10 days away, the PCB is…

SAMAA | Omair Alavi – Posted: Feb 1, 2017 | Last Updated: 5 years ago

By: Omair Alavi

Pakistan Cricket Board is of the habit of taking decisions without worrying about their consequences, rather than making an informed decision on any matter. From team selection to management of domestic matches, they are always found lacking. With the second season of Pakistan Super League just 10 days away, the PCB is all set to push Pakistan Cricket back by 20 years, thanks to the wonderful people it has employed.

The most wonderful person working for PCB these days is former captain Inzamam ul Haq who had never been a fan of a) running between the wickets and b) fitness and exercise. And best of all, he was appointed Chief Selector of the Pakistan Cricket team after impressing as ‘coach’ of Afghanistan Cricket team. It was like appointing a plumber to do the job of an electrician and then expecting him to do a wonderful job.

Inzamam ul Haq recently stated that Pakistan should have one captain for all 3 formats of the game but hasn’t that been tried, tested and dusted in Pakistan. Inzamam ul Haq led the Pakistan national team in Tests and ODIs, Younis Khan came after him while Shoaib Malik was appointed captain of the T20 team in 2007. After that, Pakistan had 2 people leading the side in 3 formats except when Misbah ul Haq was appointed captain of Tests, ODIs and T20s that was later reduced to Tests and T20s (I know, unlikely combination). In 2015, Mohammad Hafeez led the T20 side, Shahid Afridi reclaimed the captaincy of ODI team whereas Misbah had to worry about the Test squad. Things were going well until Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez failed as captains and players, and Sarfraz Ahmed was named T20 skipper and Azhar Ali, the ODI captain. It was interesting to note that Azhar Ali was not even in the team when he was chosen as the leader, and that’s where the PCB erred. They had the ideal opportunity to name a young captain yet they went for someone who would continue to let them down for 2 years, and is all set to quit ODI captaincy as it is not his cup of tea.

So, what should Pakistan do now … appoint one captain or 3 separate ones? I suggest we should have one captain for all 3 formats, if he can carry the burden. Having Azhar Ali as Misbah’s successor would be a bad move because he has proven that he isn’t captaincy material, yet the wise men in the Board want him to lead the side after Misbah. Sarfraz is the ideal choice for captaincy but since he is all-important wicket-keeper, he must either share the duties with someone else in limited overs or improve his game and prove that he has the guts to pull it off. He is one of those players around whom you can plan the innings and he might have to lose something to gain captaincy. Imad Wasim should be made the vice-captain and all golden oldies – Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal – must be told to go and perform at PSL, and PSL alone as they have damaged Pakistan Cricket by not quitting despite bad performance.

Inzamam ul Haq recently stated that Pakistan should have one captain for all 3 formats of the game but hasn’t that been tried, tested and dusted in Pakistan. Inzamam ul Haq led the Pakistan national team in Tests and ODIs, Younis Khan came after him while Shoaib Malik was appointed captain of the T20 team in 2007. After that, Pakistan had 2 people leading the side in 3 formats except when Misbah ul Haq was appointed captain of Tests, ODIs and T20s that was later reduced to Tests and T20s (I know, unlikely combination). In 2015, Mohammad Hafeez led the T20 side, Shahid Afridi reclaimed the captaincy of ODI team whereas Misbah had to worry about the Test squad. Things were going well until Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez failed as captains and players, and Sarfraz Ahmed was named T20 skipper and Azhar Ali, the ODI captain. It was interesting to note that Azhar Ali was not even in the team when he was chosen as the leader, and that’s where the PCB erred. They had the ideal opportunity to name a young captain yet they went for someone who would continue to let them down for 2 years, and is all set to quit ODI captaincy as it is not his cup of tea.

So, what should Pakistan do now … appoint one captain or 3 separate ones? I suggest we should have one captain for all 3 formats, if he can carry the burden. Having Azhar Ali as Misbah’s successor would be a bad move because he has proven that he isn’t captaincy material, yet the wise men in the Board want him to lead the side after Misbah. Sarfraz is the ideal choice for captaincy but since he is all-important wicket-keeper, he must either share the duties with someone else in limited overs or improve his game and prove that he has the guts to pull it off. He is one of those players around whom you can plan the innings and he might have to lose something to gain captaincy. Imad Wasim should be made the vice-captain and all golden oldies – Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal – must be told to go and perform at PSL, and PSL alone as they have damaged Pakistan Cricket by not quitting despite bad performance.

And then there is the masterful stoke by Inzamam who wants Younis and Misbah to retire after the West Indian tour later this year, irrespective of their performance. Saying such a thing before the series could have disastrous effect on the team, especially Younis Khan who is so close to become the first Pakistani to score 10,000 runs in Test Cricket. If I remember correctly, it was the same Inzamam ul Haq who blocked the selection of one Misbah ul Haq (and one Asim Kamal) who only made a comeback to the side after the burly ul Haq had retired from the game. Had it been upto Inzamam, he would have wanted to play more but thankfully, he was made to retire on time.

Talking of retiring and Farewell game don’t look good when they come out of Inzi’s mouth because his last ODI match was the first Pakistan played after the death of Bob Woolmer while in his last Test, he threw his wicket and failed to break Javed Miandad’s record of most runs in the longer format. He should let the two veterans play it out and they are mature enough to realize when they will have to quit. He shouldn’t take decisions for others because we know Inzamam’s decisions (read selection) aren’t always the best. As for Misbah and Younis, they should get some players ready for the future so they leave a better legacy than the one they got and Pakistan gets a few match winners on their hand who can do the country proud.

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Omair Alavi