Misbah-ul-Haq has been criticised for Pakistan's poor performance in Sri Lanka  © Getty Images
Misbah-ul-Haq has been criticised for Pakistan’s poor performance in Sri Lanka © Getty Images

Karachi: Sep 1, 2014

Even though the political climate in Pakistan is heated up and uncertainty prevails but that has not prevented former players from wading into the national team for its poor performances in Sri Lanka and for renewed calls to remove Misbah-ul-Haq as captain. While the attention of the entire nation is focused on the political landscape in Islamabad, former players have called for the sacking of Misbah saying it was paramount to appoint flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi as captain for the World Cup.

“It is imperative that Misbah is sacked as captain and Afridi asked to replace him. Misbah’s batting and temperament is preventing the team from showing its true potential in one-day matches,” former captain, Mohammad Yousuf said. “Afridi may not be in the best of form but he is a natural leader and he will bring back the much needed enthusiasm and zest into the team that is badly needed for the World Cup,” Yousuf told PTI today.

Yousuf said that Misbah had been pulling down the team with his defensive approach and passive captaincy. “He is going nowhere now. He has given his best days to Pakistan cricket and we appreciate that but it is time to move on.”

Former captain Rashid Latif also felt that after the shoddy performances of the Pakistan team in Sri Lanka it appeared as if Afridi would be brought in as captain. “To me it seems the time has come for Misbah to be changed. I get this feeling. Because there is no explanation for the way we performed in Sri Lanka,” he said. He said that the team despite having a strong support staff just didn’t seem to learn from their mistakes and Misbah was not leading from the front.

But well-informed sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board insisted that they were no plans to unseat Misbah at this time. “Chairman, Shaharyar Khan is clear in his mind that one bad series does not justify sacking Misbah and secondly stability in required in the team in the buildup to the World Cup which Misbah provides,” one source said.

Interestingly even Pakistan team manager and chief selector Moin Khan appeared to shift the blame on to Misbah for the debacle in Sri Lanka. “Unfortunately when a captain is out of form the team’s morale also goes down and that is what happened in Sri Lanka,” Moin said. “But I am sure that an experienced player like Misbah will get back into form soon. But I will be submitting my detailed report on the tour to the board shortly,” Moin added.

Pakistan’s former captain, Rameez Raja also felt that Pakistan need to rethink their strategy for the World Cup. “We have problems in many areas and we need to sort them out. Unfortunately Misbah also didn’t show the required aggression in the series when it was needed.” Raja said he had been saying for a while now that the board needs to start thinking ahead and take some hard decisions.

Former captain and coach, Mohsin Khan said that it was unfair to put the entire responsibility on Misbah. “The team management is also responsible for the playing eleven’s we selected in the test and one-day matches. I don’t think the selection and combinations were right. Playing seven specialist batsmen in the one-dayers with Afridi to follow indicated a negative mindset to me.”