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Sunday, January 16, 2011


Pakistan cricket team has been longing for a skipper as confident and charismatic as Imran Khan and Wasim Akram for long. After the world cup of 1999, played in captaincy of Wasim Akram, where the team made it into the final of the event but eventually lost the cup to the Australian rivals, Pakistan Cricket Board has experimented with a number of captains, but none of them could succeed in assembling the team as a single unit.
During the era of Inzamam-ul-Haq, the most successful one after 1999, the team showed mixed performance. They used to win a couple of matches and then let go the next few, but after the retirement of the legendary batsman Inzamam, the team could never display a world class performance with consistency, and an inefficient captain might have been the cause.
While experimenting with the team, the PCB handed over the responsibility to Younis Khan, Salman Butt, Abdul Razzaq, Misbah-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi and a couple of other players one after another, but none could deliver.  Finally, the PCB felt that Afridi was a relatively better option than rest as he was perhaps the only one who could keep his control over the team and could make the boys give their best on the field.
Despite being better than the rest of the lot, Afridi has never emerged as an ideal captain. Under his leadership, consistency in performance of the team always remained under question. Moreover, he could never prove his mettle as a great batsman as he is known to play in complete disregard to the demands of the situation. Perhaps that is the reason why even though the Test squad has been doing impressively well against New Zealand having Misbah-ul-Haq as the skipper, PCB is looking for new leadership to take responsibility for the one-day matches as well.
Responding to such calls, the former skipper and the legendary left-arm fast bowler Wasim Akram has said that at a time when the World Cup cricket is just around the corner, a change in the captaincy will only form a perfect recipe for disaster. While talking to the reporters, he said, “I feel that changing the captain so close to the World Cup will cause great damage to the national team and its chances in the tournament.” However, while supporting Afridi, he also advised the all-rounder to work hard on improving batting, to bring more consistency and try leading the team from the front.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan cricket board, which is yet to announce the name of the skipper for the World Cup, has said that it was also not sure about having Afridi at the helm of the affairs in the mega event. However, the board has retained him as captain for the six one-day matches yet to be played against New Zealand.
Sharing his views over the possible squad for the World Cup, Akram said that ignoring Mohammad Yousuf for the one-day series in New Zealand was a big mistake made by the selectors. Supporting the inclusion of Yousuf he said, “Yousuf is a very seasoned campaigner and I think, in the World Cup, when the pressure will be high and all matches will be important you need someone like Yusouf in the middle order to stabilize things. He should be in the side.”
The selectors have given no reason as to why Mohammad Yousuf has not been given a chance to perform into the series against New Zealand; however, the legendary batsman has been included into the preliminary list of 30 players for the World Cup Cricket which is to start from the 19th of next month.
What selectors could tell in this regard was that they were not happy with the fitness of the anchoring batsman, but they have given him a chance to lead the Lahore team in national one-day championship which started yesterday. If Mohammad Yousuf proves his fitness on the home ground, he will most likely also be included into the final squad of 15 players for the mega cricketing event.
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