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By Mohammad Wasim
It’s a very common line at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that “we are planning for the next World Cup.” Actually this never happens and Pakistan cricket has been run on a day to day basis for decades now. This is the biggest reason we have never been consistent in any format of the game and always relying on patchy brilliance.
At times we are beating top teams but at the same time also losing to average sides.
The problems have been from the top tier of management right till the bottom. There are also issues within the team such as groupings to support captaincy of certain individuals, captains abusing their power and even player power. The seat of the Chairman of PCB has been a musical chair, which hopefully has now been sorted and this management will survive for a longer period and will also deliver. So far they have not been impressive as mostly they have followed the failed systems and brought in people from the past.
Within the team, there was news that during the World T20 captain Mohammad Hafeez abused his power of captaincy. On the other hand Shahid Afridi wants to take over as captain and has the support from a group of players. With his gestures during the game and his statements after the World T20, it was very clear that Hafeez was not supported by his senior players and some others. Now what has happened has happened. We need to move on and look for the steps so these things can be removed from the team.
Najam Sethi does talk a lot which is mostly positive but we are all hoping that he will deliver also. So far it’s not been too many actions. But still early days for him so maybe he needs more time and space. But there are people around him at the PCB who have been there for many years with zero results, and that’s something Najam Sethi needs to work on and bring in the right people.
There’s news that Ahmed Shehzad is going to be the next T20I captain, which is a positive sign. He has the ability as long he can work on his man management skills more and learn as quickly as possible. Although Misbah is doing a great job in ODIs, I am sure he will like to finish on a high note and leave some sort of legacy. Also Pakistan cricket needs to move on. So the 2015 World Cup can be a good bench mark. In my view it will be a good time for Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi to hang up their boots from all formats. Maybe we will struggle for a bit but we need to look at the big picture and long term plans. These three should set the trend of deciding their future themselves rather than leaving it for the selectors who in the past have not allowed our great players to have an impressive ending to their career. Shoaib Akhtar is the one who stands out in this regard.
So after the 2015 World Cup Ahmed Shehzad can be the right choice as ODI captain, but in the meantime we need to groom him to ensure he is ready for the role when it becomes available.
Captaining the Test team is a completely different job. For that you need someone who has cool head and also can handle the pressure well. And most importantly he is a consistent performer himself. Someone who has already respect from team mates as a player and considering all these things, Azhar Ali is the best choice. He has the personality and temperament for the job plus he is one of the most consistent performers in the Test team. He also still has a good few years of cricket left in him.
As far as the future selection of the team is concerned, now we have an army of selectors, let’s hope that they will deliver, but many eyes and hopes are set on Wasti and Akram as they can make a difference.
Our Twenty20 team needs a full make-over. There are many youngsters on the domestic circuit who can do a better job at the top level. Other than maybe two or three players who justify their place in the T20 team, the rest can easily be replaced for a better future.
Also all three formats should be divided so we don’t see fatigue and overloading of our players. In the recent past we’ve seen that our players were not on top of their game because of the fatigue factor.
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