Captaincy December 6, 2007

Let it go, Captain Khan

Let it go, Captain Khan

Younis Khan, suggest reports emanating from Bangalore, is about to turn his back on the Pakistan captaincy for a third time. We all know that Younis loathes nothing more than being somebody's dummy. We all know that the unreasonable reactions of Pakistan fans turn his mind from the captaincy. But if the reports are true and Younis does not lead Pakistan in Bangalore, he will be the dummy and an unreasonable one at that.

Admittedly, Pakistan's decision-making has defied logic. Yasir Arafat rushes in too late to play. Shoaib Akhtar leaves his hospital bed to open the bowling. Kamran Akmal remains Pakistan's wicketkeeper for his batting and not his glovework. Abdur Rauf is summoned but blocked by the board. Meanwhile, Pakistan's stand-in captain is an agitated bystander.

What power can Younis expect, though, as stand-in captain? He keeps the seat warm for his younger leader, and it is churlish to complain since this is a situation of his own making. The captaincy and the power could have been his.

Statistically, Younis is one of Pakistan's best ever batsmen. Everybody who scoffed at his heroics at Kolkata needs to remember that Pakistan have an abysmal record of saving a Test match on the final day. Far more illustrious Pakistan batting line-ups than this one have flopped miserably in less trying circumstances.

Yet Younis has never managed to capture the broad acclaim to match that of the people he rubs shoulders with in the records table. Some of this reluctance is down to Younis's unpredictability, although he is increasingly reliable. Some of it is down to juvenile mockery of his bottom-slapping technique of player motivation.

Much of this ambivalence, however, is entirely explained by his bizarre relationship with the Pakistan captaincy. The first refusal could be explained by principle. The second explained by emotion. Many Pakistan fans have been exasperated by these decisions. How could somebody refuse the national leadership role? This third hesitation will eradicate any sympathy for Younis's stance. The question is a simple one: What matters more to Younis, his pride or the opportunity to rescue this Test series for his country?

Let it go, Captain Khan. Your pride infuses your play but your pride is also diffusing your senses. The best answer to people in the squad or in the PCB who might undermine you is to show them what you are capable of on the field. That is where you win the argument, not in press conferences, syndicated columns, or air-conditioned boardrooms.

A Pakistan team with its third captain of the series will be a limp challenger to India's dominance.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on December 16, 2007, 10:06 GMT

    There is some good news after the series though. The batting did come along in the series, whereas the bowling fell apart. Part of the reason is that a full-strength pace attack wasn't available, and the bench-strength was found wanting.

    There is no point in persisting with Malik and I'd rather that the management pre-empts serious defeat against Australia. The only question to consider is whether Malik could play in the test side on merit and the answer is that 'he is a bowler turned into batsman'. Once that is not possible, fallouts are bound to happen in the team as he won't be respected too much.

  • testli5504537 on December 16, 2007, 5:23 GMT

    It was obvious from the very beginning that the Pakistan Cricket Team was very weak and unbalanced and will lose badly on the Indian tour. Here is my observation: After the one-dayers the selectors should not have recalled Shahid Afridi, Fawad Alam and Sarfaraz Ahamed. As replacements they should have sent Asim Kamal, Abulr Rauf, Mohammed Irshad and Anwar Ali. Kamran Akmal should have opened with Salman Butt while w/k duties be given to Sarfaz Ahmed. Faisal Iqbal, Mohammed Sami and Danish Kaneria have been tried over and over again and have faied so has Yasir Hameed and Imran Nazir. Can't we swallow this fact? Rao Iftekhar Anjum is a good one day player so are Sohail Tanvir and Abdur Rehman but for Test Matches you need real FAST bowlers and spinners who can take wickets not just stop the flow of runs.

  • testli5504537 on December 14, 2007, 18:45 GMT

    Another series goes by and nothing productive for Pakistan cricket except the rise of Misbah, but one question, will he be so good on genuine 150-250 bowling pitches? if so then he is a good player, if not then he is a flat track bully like most in Pakistan are. Kudos to the Indians they deserved to win, i reckon they'll frustrate the Aussies but I still back the Aussies to come out on top. As far as Pakistan are concerned, we have a series against Zimbabwe, a good time to test out fresh legs, new bowlers need to be incorporated. I back Akmal as opener and Sarfraz as wicketkeeper. Akmal can make it as a batsmen alone, he has enough talent. Drop Akhtar or give him an ultimatum, something like survive the Zimbabwe series and take wickets. As far as the Australia series goes, we can beat them but only with a settled opening pair (Butt and Akmal or some other talented opener) , an in-form Yousuf and Malik, an uninjured Akhtar, Asif, Gul and in-form Kaneria in the same attack.

  • testli5504537 on December 14, 2007, 17:29 GMT

    It is clear that Kaneria is surviving only on reputation (and for that metter so is Kamran Akmal, Mohameed Sami & Sohaib Akthar).

    Misbah ul Haq could reinvent himself at the age of 33. Michael Hussy made his debut at 31.

    A certain Mr. Saqlain Mustaq is still only 30.

    Kamran Akmal might have made a century at Kolkata, but had he taken the catches the Indian total would have been 150 less in the first place!

    Why not Sarfaraz Ahmed as keeper and vice captain After all he was the U19 world cup winning captain.

    Coming back to Saqlain, he was once spoken of as the future captain of Pakistan. It is still not late.

  • testli5504537 on December 14, 2007, 10:52 GMT

    Here are my two cents - We should Retain Malik as captain and Re - employ Waqar and Wasim as bowling coaches.Afridi must play in all forms of the game - he is our talisman and I believe he should be made vice captain. I think that what was most evident from the defeat in India was the poor intelligence levels The Pakistani team exhibited compared to the Indians and this must be addressed at grass roots level.Mohd Sami just isn't an international player and we should give Anwar Ali a chance.Lets not forget that the team is in transition and still very young but we should adopt a similar model as employed by Australia/England where talent is nurtured by academies and universities. Only then can we get a crop of well rounded individuals that have the support and self confidence to win games consistently.

  • testli5504537 on December 14, 2007, 2:55 GMT

    It is not the players fault but the selectors and above all the ones who runs PCB without having any knowledge about cricket who submit to pressures to keep their high paying jobs by selecting and not giving deserving youngsters a chance to establish themselves and away with tried and failed over and over again lot and make some bold decisions. Give a chance to Asim Kamal and who knows , he may turn out to be another success story like Misbah.Play Kamran Akmal as an specialist batsman, preferably an opener and give W/k duties to some competent guy, surely must be a one or two in 160 ml people!! Then there are Abdur Rauf, Mohammed Irshad, Anwar Ali and a host of up and coming fast bowlers we are grooming we can give a taste of international experience. Regarding spinners,there is life beyond Kaneria, Rizwan Ahamed of Hyderabad, Mansoor Amjad,( Right arm leg break) Fawad Alam (left arm slow) and an Off=Spinner (I can't place his name) are excellent prospects. Give them chance try them

  • testli5504537 on December 13, 2007, 11:52 GMT

    The PCb have a look at who is capable of being a regular in starting XI and give him the captaincy long term. To me there are only 2 choices Younis Khan, or M Yousuf. Against Australia Akmal needs to bat higher up the order, maybe even open - he cant be any worse than the current openers. Also - a fit Ahktar is one of the best attacking weapons in world cricket, and Kaneria is highly regarded everywhere except in Pakistan. I thought Pakistan ended up doing better than I imagined they would, I thought they would get beat 3 - 0. Get a full strength side on the paddock and Pakistan can be world beaters. What is the go with Razzaq? Has he permanantly retired from international cricket to play 20/20? The other problem Pakistan cricket is - there is no tolerance for dips in form. I think Inzy had another 2 years left in him - but all the melodrama finished him off. Also - why can't Saqlain get back in the team? - that guy was awesome, he is the inventor of the doosra - not Murali.

  • testli5504537 on December 13, 2007, 11:12 GMT

    Musharaff has SET UP Pak cricket to fail so that Imran Khan will withdraw from politics and create a winning team. Remember 1987, today hurts. India were average, Pak were less than that! Army man Mushy is so smart, puting Ashraf (Kidney specialist)to administer decay to the Pak team, that Imran will have no choice but to come back. What do you think of my conspiracy theory?

  • testli5504537 on December 13, 2007, 8:25 GMT

    pak cricket is dead,thats all i have to say.Tell me one single area where in pak team is not struggling?

  • testli5504537 on December 12, 2007, 21:27 GMT

    Younus Khan is not a captain material. He is a bad fielder who dropped a lot of catches in this test series and a dumb batsman who when at the score of 80 plays a dumb reverse sweep of Harbhajan to get him self clean bowled. He should never be asked to lead Pakistan. Then only capable man is Misbah and no one else. As for Faisal Iqbal he should never be selected in the team again.What a loser he is.

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