Captaincy April 17, 2007

Malik rises above hierarchy

Later this week the PCB is expected to confirm the rise of Shoaib Malik

Later this week the PCB is expected to confirm the rise of Shoaib Malik. His appointment as Pakistan captain will be a welcome change to the tried and failed method of handing the job to the most senior player.

Younis Khan's perplexing decision to snub the captaincy left the PCB with a testing decision. In the seniors corner, Mohammad Yousuf was expressing his willingness to lead his country. In the less-seniors corner, Shoaib Malik was keeping quiet. Elsewhere, Shahid Afridi (with some justification) and Abdul Razzaq (with no justification) were probably wondering why they'd blown it. Salman Butt might have begun to picture himself as Pakistan's first non-playing captain. And Shoaib Akhtar will have been regretting nandrolone more than ever.

In the end, the PCB has done well to choose a young captain, a smart cricketer, and a star of Mobilink Jazz adverts and Hum Aik Hain videos. If ever there was a time for Pakistan's cricketers to heed the words of a song this is it.

Factions and disloyalty should be greeted with a zero-tolerance policy, a young captain requires a clear demonstration of confidence from his cricket board. It is disappointing that the first leaks about Malik's elevation have been accompanied by an official stating that "there isn't really another suitable candidate around." This new era has to be launched with positives about the new captain and not any grudging excuses. Let's hope for better at the press conference.

Similarly, the PCB has to rethink its decision to appoint Malik on a "series by series" basis. A captain can be sacked at any moment and this series by series approach simply breeds uncertainty and disloyalty. Indeed there are hardly any series to speak of over the next few months and this policy becomes a way of undermining the new captain's authority right from the start.

Malik has to face a few challenges of his own too. It takes skill to handle people who are more experienced and win their full support--particularly in a culture steeped in hierarchy--but it is by no means an insurmountable problem. Imran Khan faced similar challenges when he took over but he quickly established his authority as his own performance jumped to a new level.

But Malik, unlike Imran, is yet to convince everyone that he fully deserves his place in both teams. His footwork--or lack of it--is a particular worry. Nonetheless, Malik strikes me as the kind of cricketer who will lift his game, fight, and accept the responsibility. I don't expect captaincy to propel him to the level it did Imran but I'd be hopeful that he can quash any doubts about his selection.

Malik's leadership is unproven on the world stage although he has captained with some distinction in domestic cricket. Unfortunately any good work was undone by his decision to deliberately lose a Twenty20 match. But his critics are being unfair. Malik's behaviour while unacceptable was a protest against the way the rules of the competition were being implemented and not a case of match-fixing in the sense that we understand it. Still, Malik's conduct will be under strict scrutiny and he needs to restore some credibility for himself and his country.

For the first time in months Pakistan cricket has moved in the right direction. It feels good to write that. It will feel even better if Pakistan begin to display urgency, bravery, competitiveness, and above all professionalism. The talent, we know, is there already. Can Shoaib Malik make the most of it?

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on November 15, 2008, 22:11 GMT

    Pakistan loss a great tallented Player and Captain.Hassan Raza, proove himself one of the best Captain with winning A teams World Cup,Champions Trpohy,Asia Cup and much more.He score triple centuries 4 time as a captain.I don't know how PCB misuse this talented guy.After 5 years they give him chance against strong bowling attack and he unfortunately made 3&27 in two innings.And after that they drop him.Why they not give him full series?.They tried Taufeeq Umar,Imran Farhad,Imran Nazir in 15 complete series while for a player under whom captaincy Muhammad Yusaf,Yunis Khan,Salman Butt and Shoaib Malik played they neglect to Hassan Raza.If they used him nicely than I can say today Pakistan may be in Number One or Two position.

  • testli5504537 on June 4, 2008, 7:42 GMT

    I think this is a poor choice by the PCB. There are many great cricketers like, Razaq, Afridi, Younis, Akhtar they are all senior to Malik, so i think its not correct to appoint this man to be captain of Pakistan team.

  • testli5504537 on April 23, 2007, 19:56 GMT

    Shoaib Malik; Rana Naved, Shabbir Ahmed.. What is common among them??? They are all paindo and they all have a very strong Jack behind them.

    Go figure!! Shahid Pathan

  • testli5504537 on April 23, 2007, 19:01 GMT

    I am glad to see some right direction from PCB in the selection of new players. This is not 100% correct but its better.

    Selectors name 39 probable for the national training camp for incoming one day series, which starts here from Saturday for next month’s three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi.


    Openers: Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Imran Nazir, Khurram Manzoor, Taufiq Umar, Babar Naeem, Khalid Latif. Very good inclusion of deserving players like Khalid Latif, Khurrum Manzoor & Babar Naeem. I think our new captain should try new openers.

    Rests of the openers have been tried and they failed. Please note: Khalid Latif & Khurrum Manzoor playing for the same cricket club in Karachi which produced Pakistan best stylish opener Saeed Anwar.

    Middle-order batsmen: Mohammad Yousuf, Faisal Iqbal, Misbah-ul-Haq, Asim Kamal, Hasan Raza, Naved Latif, Yasir Hameed, Riffatullah Mohmand, Shahid Yousuf, Adnan Raza

    Good to see come back of deserving players like Asim Kamal & Yasir Hamid. Asim kamal should be given chance in one day cricket also. PCB has to pay a lot to Asim Kamal & Yasir Hamid. Especially Asim Kamal was set against the wall by Inzi & his group. Nice to see new young players in the list like Adnan Raza, Sailkot born Shahid Yusuf & Peshawar born Riffatullah Mohmand. I think Misbah-ul-Haq & Naved Latif passed their prime time.

    All-rounders: Shoaib Malik, Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Fawwad Alam

    Nice to see name of another outstanding young player in this list, Fawad Alam. He has been doing great performance from last one or two years. He is leading a Pakistan Academy team in Bangladesh. He was the best batsman, best bowler, best fielder and the man of the match of the final in ABNRO 20/20 tournament. I think he is the best found of 2007. Good Luck Fawad Alam. Old fellows Abdul Razzaq & Mohd Hafeez should be out. Abdul Razzaq has a habit getting unfit against tough opponents and we saw the performance of Mohd Hafeez in the World cup.

    Fast bowlers: Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Sami, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar, Shabbir Ahmed, Abdul Rauf, Mohammad Irshad, Najaf Shah, Shahid Nazir, Mohammad Khalil

    We are missing young fast bowler Anwar Ali from the list. This is the bowler who won the under 19 world cup for us. He performed well in recent Quaid-e-Azam trophy and took 10 plus wicket in one match. He should be in the list. We do not need Shahid Nazir, Shabbir Ahmed (chucker), Abdul Rauf & Mohammad Khalil.

    Spinners: Abdur Rehman, Tahir Khan, Atif Maqbool, Mansoor Amjad

    Thair Khan doing very well in domestic cricket. Day b4 yesterday he did well with bat & ball both. I do not know very much about Atif Maqbool & Mansoor Amjad. We do not need left arm bowler Abdur Rehman in the presence of Fawwad Alam. Fawwad is an excellent left arm young bowler. Abdur Rehman already passed his young time and he is not an all-rounder.

    Now this is a test for new captain Shoaib Malik. How he will pick his playing eleven team? Keep Merit and justice should be his first priority, this will take him the way of successes here & hereafter.

    Dawar LA, USA

  • testli5504537 on April 23, 2007, 17:36 GMT

    Malik is good but afridi would have been better

  • testli5504537 on April 23, 2007, 16:51 GMT

    Kamran, Im amazed you still allow Javed Khan, the Babu from Montreal, to post on your blog. I've heard of free speech and all, but theres also a law that says people have to be sane to post on public forums! Well, at least there SHOULD be a law like that...until it comes along though, can you please spare us Javed Baba's ramblings? His fascination with Afridi is ridiculous. If he likes him so much, he should invite him to captain Montreal's club team and watch the French kick his butt all over the province.

  • testli5504537 on April 23, 2007, 16:22 GMT

    I couldn't agree more when I read Mr. Javed Khan's comments about Miandad being less popular than Imran Khan. I felt the same all these years. Javed Miandad had not only been denied his rightful place but been humiliated numerous times. The irony is that the person who was responsible for humiliating this great son of Pakistan took all the credit by somehow winning the 1992 WC. Javed Miandad was the main architect of that WC, he scored 499 runs. His presence at the non striker end gave the world of confidence to younsters like Inzimam. No one gives Miandad credit for that. Since 1992 Inzimam appeared in four more WC events, can someone point to one significant innings. Please do not dare to compare Inzimam with Javed Miandad. We have seen both of them play and we know the difference. Inzimam has been a great batsman over the years but he is not the greatest Pakistani batsman, please! Again, it is Imran Khan who made the comments of Wasim Akram being the best as his successor when he left cricket. Javed Miandad was the deserving candidate as he proved himself as the most intelligent cricketer. His captaincy record is a living proof. It will be worth mentioning that he never enjoyed the support of Imran Khan whenever he captained Pakistan. He has been criticised for being unprofessional coach by the same league just because he is not articulate and not able to speak English fluently. As far as I am concern I think he is very effective in making his point across.

  • testli5504537 on April 23, 2007, 15:05 GMT

    The only reason Yousuf was not made the captain seems to be that he was not a born muslim and not for being religious. India made Azhar as captain. Wake up, cricket has nothing to do with religion. It is a game after all.

  • testli5504537 on April 23, 2007, 14:42 GMT

    Mr. Khurram Sultan - Mate, what on earth are you trying to say. No offence but can you please (with all due respect)contribute in a language we can all understand.

  • testli5504537 on April 23, 2007, 14:14 GMT

    In my previous comment I lauded Mr. Saqib for his views on why a reasonable command over english langauge is a prerequisite for captaincy. Mr. Saqib writes from the heart but I had him confused with ASif from Switzerland. Asif thank you for highlighting the english factor in a precise manner.

    the rest is just a shake of the head and a roll fo the eyes for this team that has no fighting spirit and likes to roll over and play dead... even on prayer rugs..

    and the rest of hte nation...oh they want one day cricket.. it is because of fools like them that test cricket is almost forgotten. test crikcet is the real thing .. and for the love of god cowardly pcb .. if you are listening with oyur weasel's ears ... make some god damn sporting pitches...

    I wish this ptv and the load of crap on cable a quick death...can anyone bring back the 70s or the early 80s... tv was good then.. cricket was so beautiful.

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