New age January 19, 2009

Pakistan's new beginning is a last chance

With the dearth of internationals in 2008, Pakistan's home series against Sri Lanka has the feel of a new beginning
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Barack Obama may steal the headlines around the world tomorrow but in Pakistan he will have to share them with cricket. With the dearth of internationals in 2008, the series against Sri Lanka has the feel of a new beginning.

The players are much the same but Pakistan cricket is now run by ex-cricketers who have a genuine passion for quality and success. They want change and believe that they can make it happen. Messrs Miandad, Qadir, and Sohail should - and probably do - realise that if they fail Pakistan cricket may never recover. To me, this new beginning carries the threat of a last chance.

Shoaib Malik's team go into another series with familiar question marks over the consistency and quality of the batsmen, and howling criticisms over Malik's captaincy. But the word from the Pakistan camp is that the spirit amongst the administration is good and the big egos are aligned.

Sri Lanka, the saviours of Pakistan cricket's fixtures and finances, will be less generous in battle. The duel threat of efficiency and mystery will sorely test Pakistan's patience. Reports about the state of Karachi's pitch give Sri Lanka more confidence than Pakistan, whose rustiness should mean that a series triumph will be a genuine surprise for Malik and his men.

Yet the public expectation and attention will be such that any failure is likely to be judged harshly. My own view is that the selectors made a fundamental mistake in not taking this opportunity to replace Malik. It can only be a matter of time before his captaincy is exposed again and he loses his job. A new beginning, with so much hanging on it, deserved the right leadership on the field.

Nonetheless, this is a time for a minor celebration. Cricket is back in Pakistan, the ex-players in the cricket board are determined to succeed, and the right players might get selected. Now cricketers, administrators, security forces, politicians, and fans have to show the world that Pakistan can be a vibrant and essential venue for international cricket.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mukesh kunal on February 22, 2009, 15:15 GMT

    I think its a bold move by appointing Younis Khan as the captain of this new young pakistan team.As this new team needed a leader who would motivate and back his players and trust them. But i think that such crisis of quality of players in the team.Mohammad Younus's absence has also been felt by the pakistan team as we saw in the recent concluded ODI's where middle order fell like cards .Which was not the case 2 or 3 years back .When he was the strength of middle order but in the present team none other than Misbah or Shoaib Malik is there whom we can rely upon.Samething is applied for the bowling department also.Quality fast bowler of Wasim Akram's rank is missing Shoaib has that potential but his place in the team is not permanent because of injury.So in such crisis situation its a good move to promote Younis as captain as he the only one to revive and convert this young and inexperienced team into a winning unit. And we all wish him best of luck for this uphill task assigned byPCB.

  • Nadeem Ul-Haq on January 28, 2009, 9:18 GMT

    I think it is a bold move by the PCB naming Younus Khan has captain. He will bring excitement to the role.I would love to see M. Yousaf as is deputy and they should also Abdul Razzak and Imran Nazir.

  • rehan on January 27, 2009, 2:30 GMT

    we have no choice. I think we and PCB should give him chances to prove his self in captaincy.

  • Chandio Baba on January 26, 2009, 14:44 GMT

    Sallam to all, Firstly Shoaib malik has been an OK captain so far.... there have been some headline stories so far including his view on players he cannot get along with or think he should not be captian. I would like to remind readers that Pakistan will always be a mecurial side no matter what captian!! 1 match they are superb anext match they are all out for 75, we as Pak fans have all been there before trying to defend our team. But at the same time at remark to the farce Follower have you any idea do watch cricket?? Pakistan have played all the big guns and have beaten them home nd abroad so please keep your crap comments to yourself please. Pakistan has been one of the best teams despite all the negative press and also negative perception on Pakistan and have always come in winners, we thrashed England the last time they visited and also beat India at home and played very well on the last tour to SA so check yourself. However due to political problems we have no tests in 2008.

  • Farce Follower on January 26, 2009, 10:44 GMT

    A whole lot of talented cricketers, wasted by improper processes and lack of exposure - that is Pakistan. It is time Pakistan played the real big guns - Australia, England, SA and India. Now that the series against Sri Lanka has showed the weaknesses, it is time Pakistani administrators got real and chopped West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe from 'match practice'. Shahid Afridi is an imposter and so is Kamran Akmal. And did I hear someone comparing Malik to Sehwag - what a joke. In Tests, Sehwag is devastating. In ODIs, Malik still needs to learn. Sehwag screws up a bowlers' mind. Malik cheers them up. Don't tank up averages - when he played 10 matches on the trot with the likes of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

  • JamJar on January 25, 2009, 9:27 GMT

    Fahad Chugtai, no you my friend posted your comments too early! What match are you referring to? I'm guessing its the after the first SL match, before the 100 odd run defeat of 200 odd run trashing of Pakistan!

    How much time does Malik need? What can we take away from this series as Pakistan moving in the right direction? Granted, my local team in Scotland has probably played more cricket than Pak amidst the thunderstorms up here but Malik would be given time if signs were emerging that the team is improving. With the performances we've had this series, what can be taken away as signs of improvement?

    Malik's stubborness to back Akmal up is ridiculous! I love Osman Samiuddin's scathing attack of him and rightly so! 'His batting makes up for his sloppy glovework'! Come on dude, his average is 25 odd and we have Rao who averages just over 20! Pak need to wake up and live life in the real world and not to its corrupt and crony way its used to. Ridculous, absolutely ridiculous!

  • Annonymous on January 24, 2009, 12:36 GMT

    Brilliant.Losing by 234 runs shows the greatness of the pak team

  • jilani on January 24, 2009, 1:55 GMT

    I think Shoaib should absolutely stay as a captain. At least he "wants" the job unlike Younis OR Pietersen. To be quite fair, I have seen a difference in him and he needs another year or two to mature.

    Rather than drop him as a captain, we may need two separate captains-test and then 1day/T20. I vote for Shoaib as latter and Younis as former.

    Also Shoaib Akhtar should focus on shorter format.

    -Jilani

  • waterbuffalo on January 23, 2009, 15:42 GMT

    Now Malik backtracks on earlier comments because "Senior Board Officials" have scolded him for being honest and direct. Now he says he wasn't talking about Akhtar, one thing is for sure Malik isn't a politician, he isn't smart enough to be one , judging from his infantile line of reasoning. Pakistan is stuck with this mama's boy of a captain, because no one wants the job, and why would they? You cannot be honest and you cannot act like a captain because some anonymous Board official is going to give you a tongue lashing whenever he feels like it.

  • Nadeem Ul-Haq on January 23, 2009, 10:27 GMT

    I think Malik should stay as captain coz he is doing ok so far. I am over the moon that international cricket is being played in pakistan lets just hope everything goes to plan and other nations start to tour pakistan again. And by the way, why is this sri Lankan series not televised on ARY digital or Geo. I was told that all Pakistan home series would be televised by ARY. Could anyone shed any light on this matter.

  • mukesh kunal on February 22, 2009, 15:15 GMT

    I think its a bold move by appointing Younis Khan as the captain of this new young pakistan team.As this new team needed a leader who would motivate and back his players and trust them. But i think that such crisis of quality of players in the team.Mohammad Younus's absence has also been felt by the pakistan team as we saw in the recent concluded ODI's where middle order fell like cards .Which was not the case 2 or 3 years back .When he was the strength of middle order but in the present team none other than Misbah or Shoaib Malik is there whom we can rely upon.Samething is applied for the bowling department also.Quality fast bowler of Wasim Akram's rank is missing Shoaib has that potential but his place in the team is not permanent because of injury.So in such crisis situation its a good move to promote Younis as captain as he the only one to revive and convert this young and inexperienced team into a winning unit. And we all wish him best of luck for this uphill task assigned byPCB.

  • Nadeem Ul-Haq on January 28, 2009, 9:18 GMT

    I think it is a bold move by the PCB naming Younus Khan has captain. He will bring excitement to the role.I would love to see M. Yousaf as is deputy and they should also Abdul Razzak and Imran Nazir.

  • rehan on January 27, 2009, 2:30 GMT

    we have no choice. I think we and PCB should give him chances to prove his self in captaincy.

  • Chandio Baba on January 26, 2009, 14:44 GMT

    Sallam to all, Firstly Shoaib malik has been an OK captain so far.... there have been some headline stories so far including his view on players he cannot get along with or think he should not be captian. I would like to remind readers that Pakistan will always be a mecurial side no matter what captian!! 1 match they are superb anext match they are all out for 75, we as Pak fans have all been there before trying to defend our team. But at the same time at remark to the farce Follower have you any idea do watch cricket?? Pakistan have played all the big guns and have beaten them home nd abroad so please keep your crap comments to yourself please. Pakistan has been one of the best teams despite all the negative press and also negative perception on Pakistan and have always come in winners, we thrashed England the last time they visited and also beat India at home and played very well on the last tour to SA so check yourself. However due to political problems we have no tests in 2008.

  • Farce Follower on January 26, 2009, 10:44 GMT

    A whole lot of talented cricketers, wasted by improper processes and lack of exposure - that is Pakistan. It is time Pakistan played the real big guns - Australia, England, SA and India. Now that the series against Sri Lanka has showed the weaknesses, it is time Pakistani administrators got real and chopped West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe from 'match practice'. Shahid Afridi is an imposter and so is Kamran Akmal. And did I hear someone comparing Malik to Sehwag - what a joke. In Tests, Sehwag is devastating. In ODIs, Malik still needs to learn. Sehwag screws up a bowlers' mind. Malik cheers them up. Don't tank up averages - when he played 10 matches on the trot with the likes of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

  • JamJar on January 25, 2009, 9:27 GMT

    Fahad Chugtai, no you my friend posted your comments too early! What match are you referring to? I'm guessing its the after the first SL match, before the 100 odd run defeat of 200 odd run trashing of Pakistan!

    How much time does Malik need? What can we take away from this series as Pakistan moving in the right direction? Granted, my local team in Scotland has probably played more cricket than Pak amidst the thunderstorms up here but Malik would be given time if signs were emerging that the team is improving. With the performances we've had this series, what can be taken away as signs of improvement?

    Malik's stubborness to back Akmal up is ridiculous! I love Osman Samiuddin's scathing attack of him and rightly so! 'His batting makes up for his sloppy glovework'! Come on dude, his average is 25 odd and we have Rao who averages just over 20! Pak need to wake up and live life in the real world and not to its corrupt and crony way its used to. Ridculous, absolutely ridiculous!

  • Annonymous on January 24, 2009, 12:36 GMT

    Brilliant.Losing by 234 runs shows the greatness of the pak team

  • jilani on January 24, 2009, 1:55 GMT

    I think Shoaib should absolutely stay as a captain. At least he "wants" the job unlike Younis OR Pietersen. To be quite fair, I have seen a difference in him and he needs another year or two to mature.

    Rather than drop him as a captain, we may need two separate captains-test and then 1day/T20. I vote for Shoaib as latter and Younis as former.

    Also Shoaib Akhtar should focus on shorter format.

    -Jilani

  • waterbuffalo on January 23, 2009, 15:42 GMT

    Now Malik backtracks on earlier comments because "Senior Board Officials" have scolded him for being honest and direct. Now he says he wasn't talking about Akhtar, one thing is for sure Malik isn't a politician, he isn't smart enough to be one , judging from his infantile line of reasoning. Pakistan is stuck with this mama's boy of a captain, because no one wants the job, and why would they? You cannot be honest and you cannot act like a captain because some anonymous Board official is going to give you a tongue lashing whenever he feels like it.

  • Nadeem Ul-Haq on January 23, 2009, 10:27 GMT

    I think Malik should stay as captain coz he is doing ok so far. I am over the moon that international cricket is being played in pakistan lets just hope everything goes to plan and other nations start to tour pakistan again. And by the way, why is this sri Lankan series not televised on ARY digital or Geo. I was told that all Pakistan home series would be televised by ARY. Could anyone shed any light on this matter.

  • ahmed on January 21, 2009, 22:07 GMT

    Once again poor decision by Malik to bat first and chase against the likes of Mendis and Murali. Pak needs a good captain who knows how to win. They have players to give good fight and win. Never seen Imran taking such a horrible decision after winning the toss.

  • Wasim on January 21, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    I don't think that Malik should be removed, whatever opportunities he got as a captain he has delivered, he has proven to be the best captain in domestic competitions,Internationally out of 23 matches Pakistan has lost only three under him. Every team which Pakistan defeats is regarded as a minnow, Srilanka were runners up of the WC,they defeated India last year and have been doing good against other countries but by facing Pakistan they have become minnows.lol Younis has an unstable personality, he refused captaincy twice, and even if he becomes the captain those who think he will get better results are living in a fools paradise as the players under him will remain the same. I think it is idiotic to even think about changing him at this critical juncture where every thing is going against Pakistan cricket. He needs to improve his performance in test matches.He lost a test series against India and SA so did Ponting does it mean that Ponting should be sacked.

  • Kiyuni sharma on January 21, 2009, 5:15 GMT

    Indian did not steal 2 ODI as said by Badar. BCCI just decided to hold a series and requested politely to SL ,if they wuold like it. Now if SL decided to cut down on PCB offer,why Blame India. Blame PCb or SL board. You just want a reason to hate India even if its imaginary. If SL thought India deserved 5 ODI at cost of Pakistan ,then please complain to SL instead of maligning BCCI. Now when Aus/SA/Eng get the Champions trophy cancelled next year for genuine security reasons , please dont blame BCCI.

  • Atif on January 21, 2009, 3:56 GMT

    I dont understand why everyone is against Malik's captaincy.All domestic teams which played under him won weather its 20 20 or 50 50.He wil play with the team which is given to him not any facy team.Take a look at Ponting, he has lost services of a few players and despite being captain for so many years now he is struggling.This looks pathetic when people just start crying to remove someone who is not been tested so far and is still learning. It is easy to write sitting on a desk and its totally differen on the field.I belive we should be backing Malik in all respects and let him settle.We just tend to involve him in different controversies and never let him focus on his job.

  • Sanjay on January 21, 2009, 2:57 GMT

    Why do pakistan persist with Sohail tanvir? His first class record is no better than many other plays and he is usually very expensive. They need to follow India's example (and Australia's example in earlier times) and give young players like Sohail Khan, Samiullah Khan and Anwar Ali an extended run in the team, to build confidence and success rather than dropping them like a gun after one or two games.

  • Ali Dada on January 21, 2009, 2:43 GMT

    Younis Khan would have been the ideal choice but the proud Khan humbly refused the offer. Better stick with Shoaib Malik - the past year or even this year so far is not fair to take in to account - all the quality oppositions are afraid of losing to Pakistan and thus don't play with us. Wait until Shoaib Malik has completed some important series.

  • Mr S Shiraz on January 21, 2009, 2:35 GMT

    Shoaib Malik deserves another chance. There is no doubt that Malik is no Dhoni or Smith but realistically do we really have another option? I have read again and again many fans suggesting Afridi or Akhtar to take up the top job but although this may seem a very exciting and a mouth-watering prospect, it is no where near rational. Both these players do not deserve a place in the team on merit and (in my opinion) it is about time we start looking past these ‘stars’. Others nominate Misbah but would that not be a case of double standard? (what was wrong with Yousaf, a world class veteran). Younis is out of the context , so who else then? We need another Imran Khan but that charisma,, boldness, talent and intelligence is hard to find.

    Mr K Abbasi suggests a change but in this time of turmoil, I strongly disagree. However It would be interesting to read his choice as the skipper - topic for the next write perhaps?

  • waterbuffalo on January 21, 2009, 2:09 GMT

    Let's just celebrate the 8 wkt win before there is talk about replacing the captain. We don't need another merry-go-round at the job. I want to see how Pakistan plays if they have to bat second and chase a score over 270, until then let's give the openers and lineup a chance and it is extremely heartening to see Pakistan play four seamers in an ODI in Pakistan. 4 pacers, and 2(part time spinners)keep it up! Don't worry about the rest of the world and who is better than who , take it one match at a time boys and hold your catches. We can start to panic when the Test Series starts.

  • Rediah on January 21, 2009, 1:59 GMT

    Its bit off topic, but i want to steal an opportunity to say thanks to Sri Lankan team and their administration for giving us some cricket.

  • Ali Hassan on January 21, 2009, 1:43 GMT

    I dont agree. Shoaib Malik needs time to develop himself into a good captain. And ofcource, one has to think how many games Pakistan has played and who they have played those games against. Until and unless you play against a good opposition, u can never get a healthy experience of leading a team. In addition, other than Shoaib Malik, who can lead the team? Misbah, Younis Khan or Afridi. Misbah only have 2 to 3 yrs left in himself. Younis has already rejected the captaincy twice. Afridi is experienced but sometimes selectors are unsure about his place in the team. My viewpoint: Pakistan only have 2 years before they play a World Cup at home. They must select young players to form a winning team. They must try players like Nasir Jamsheed, Khurram Manzoor, Anwar Ali, Sohail Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Fawad Alam, and Abdur Raof. I know there is risk involve but we still have time. Remember "The Bigger the Risk the Greater the Return is". Its time to make crucial decisions.

  • Zubair Shahab on January 21, 2009, 0:18 GMT

    How long are you going to continue calling for Shoaib's head? He barely had a chance to present his case and you want him off. In one post, you attack the media for being so stupid, but you fail to recognize that you're a part of that stupid media. Give the man a chance.

  • Assad Hasanain on January 20, 2009, 23:33 GMT

    I am not a fan of Shoaib Malik's captaincy and I believe that Younis Khan is a more obvious choice as captain. But since Mr Younis is not prepared to accept the captaincy there is simply no other alternative. Inside the subcontinent, on flat pitches,in one day and twenty-twenty cricket,I fully expect Malik's captaincy to flourish since on these pitches he can lead from the front. His real shortcoming is his lack of success as a batsmen on seaming tracks. On these pitches his captaincy will be exposed. However so far he has done a decent job on the featherbeds that he has had a chance to captain on.

  • Amir Daudi on January 20, 2009, 23:19 GMT

    Why is everyone talking about replacing Malik..? He hasn't even had a chance to captain Pakistan properly and neither did Lawson, this is the most difficult time in our cricket history. Younis doesn't want the captaincy because he hasn't got the guts, so don't bother going on about it. I commend Malik for standing up in this difficult time. Also I agree that Malik is very under-rated as a player, he has some superb innings under his belt! Mohammed Yousuf can never be a captain or vice-captain, he proved that already. But he should be in the Test & ODI side for sure. Good luck to Malik we need a young captain who can stay for a long time and not always base captaincy on age or number of games played which is what older Pak players always moan about!

  • Imran on January 20, 2009, 23:12 GMT

    Not sure why you guys get bored so soon with someone doing as good a job as any other would do in Pak cricket? 1. How much exposure has been given to Shoaib to international cricket? 2. Has he not been winning matches whenever occasionally Pak had the chance to play some cricket? 3. why should we put him under undue stress when the PCB and other circumstances could not get him Cricket to prove himself? 4. What role has PCB played in grooming him as a national captain? 5. How many times has he had the coach changed in recent times?

    I beleive he will prove to be an asset to Pak cricket over time. Remember the most successful captain of Pak won only 14 test matches in over 40 tests captained and in a long career scored of 88 matches could not score 4000 runs. Shoaib Malik must stay as a captain of a stable side with the assistance and support of the PCB as they really don't have an alternate for few years anyway. More than anything else he beleives he can do that job.

  • Moneeb Hussain on January 20, 2009, 22:09 GMT

    From my point of view Malik needs to go for sure because PCB got rid of Lawson they should have done the same with Malik.Malik does not have that attitude required by Captain. Imran Khan had attitude were he didn't look at who is his senior or Junior just said to them you play for the team you are in and if not you are out.If we look at Maliks first statement as Captain he is someone who does not have that attitude cause he said i would take senior player to side and speak to him. if it had been imran he would have just there and then told u wht he thought of the innings. I rememeber one interview were one bastmen said I used to be so scared wen I was playing incase imran thought i was playing for myself cause i knew he would be first one waiting for me so i always tried to perform for team. Until we have Captain like imran we will stay down i am faraid and Malik does not have tht attitude. Onluy person i see with that attitiude is Afridi but h needs to perform first.

  • Fahad Chughtai on January 20, 2009, 21:41 GMT

    Written Too early.

    The match against Sri Lanka shows that just the opposite is true.

  • Badar on January 20, 2009, 20:45 GMT

    I believe Malik can stay captain for ODIs and T20s but certainly not in tests where Younis will be a better choice. But then again just how many tests do Pak play anyways so it would matter less. Malik will keep the captaincy so long his team is winning. Time was ripe for the PCB to lift the bans on the ICL players after India refused to tour but we keep on making the Indians happy at the cost of damaging our own cricket. The hope of lifting the ban is fading as rapidly as the hope of restoring the CJ of Pak. India again kicked us by forcing their own series against SL thus making Pak lose 2 ODIs, 1 T20 and a test on the SL tour schedule. Remember SL were supposed to play full series of 5 ODIs, 1 T20 and 3 tests. Now PCB chairman says the Aussies won't tour Pak in April, why not? If India can make Eng come back right after the Mumbai attacks, why can't PCB ensures the Oz tour after hopefully a peaceful and safe series against SL? If Oz don't come, forget the Champions Trophy then.

  • Faisal on January 20, 2009, 19:27 GMT

    Well, comparing Malik's average with Sehwag will give us a better idea, who is better? Even though, Malik started his career way down the order, he still comes out as as a winner. Those who had followed Pakistan's cricket regularly would only know the importance of Shoaib Malik as a batsmen as he's given us numerous responsible innings.... Sehwag is only a Powerplayer, while Malik is a proper batsmen.... and the best part is that Malik can bat any number. Coming to the captaincy issue. First of all, his own stats improved remarkably since he has taken over, he averages more than 43 as captain, he also lead from the front by opening in the asia cup and we all know what he did... His captaincy record is 10 wins out of 19 Matches, and this is excluding bangladesh zimbabwe and hongkong.... I guess these are fair numbers, considering what state we had been in.... Mr. Kamran, I am waiting for the day to hear words which appreciates PAKISTAN... may I see that in this life....

  • Xerox on January 20, 2009, 19:13 GMT

    Vijay Sankar, Ali is talking about Shoaib Malik's performance in ODIs. Pieterson and Ponting I guess are in a different league but as far as Sehwag is concerned Malik's record is better than his, in both batting and bowling and of course he is a much much better fielder. Check the record for yourself. Sehwag is a grossly overrated player. 10 bad innings and then one big inning. I would rather say, comparing Sehwag with Ponting, come on, what are you talking about Vijay??

  • Mohsin Irshad on January 20, 2009, 18:52 GMT

    Rubbish of an article! The author should have mentioned the wrong decisions or mistakes he has done during his tenure as a captain. Malik has captained the domestic sides to victory several times. His record as a captain(for Pakistan) is better than most of the previous captains. I don't know why is the talk about his captaincy when he is settling in as a skipper. He is a genuine one day and T20 player and has the temperament to bat for long periods. ...... Above all none in the Pakistan camp is able or willing to become a captain.

  • khalil on January 20, 2009, 17:50 GMT

    Although It,s better to have a born leader rather than groomed one but seniority should not be the baseline to be captain. Leading qualities,mutual respect,spark to serve as captain,cricketing performances,moral soundness and good communicating skills may be some of the points to be considered while selecting a captain.If we look around, how many players in our team fullfil these requirements. I think none. Malik must be wanting in some criteria but we don,t have any other option.We can,t have 11 captains playing in our team. Malik should be given time and confidence,based on the SA model.We remember the 90,s when half the members of our team had captained the side in one way or the other.

  • Junaid on January 20, 2009, 17:46 GMT

    For once, stop shooting from your hip Mr. Abbassi. You have been an ardent supporter of Shoaib Akhter when everyone knows that he is a disaster. You have been a supporter of Afridi who has been patchy if anything else. For once stop propping up the flash of Pakistan Cricket and support the people who are committed to the team and play for the team and not for themselves. Shoaib Malik is the best captain Pakistan has at the moment. Younis would have been great, but sorry he turned it down twice and that shows how he could have never handled the Pakistan leadership and the ugly strings attached to it. Malik is doing a good job with what he has. So, please do us a favor Mr. Abbassi and shut the F*** up. Thank you!

  • Xalman Ilahi on January 20, 2009, 16:42 GMT

    Extremely dissapointed by this article. This level of Yellow Journalism has not been seen in the past by you Kamran Abbasi. Shoaib Malik is a top performer in and outside the Pakistani team and you must judge him by real evidence matches and record, not just by throwing ur statement. Pentagular Cup and Pakistan T20 is a prime example. Sialkot Stallions have consistetnly been the domestic Champions of Pakistan under his Leadership for the last 4 years. All other contenders have been captains of their sides in these tournaments, without success. Shoaib has led from the front with both bat and ball. As for Afridi, after over a decade of under-perfroming as a batsman he is a joke when it comes to batting and those who support even his inclusion in the team as a batsman should seriously re consider taking up another sport to watch. So as the Beatles song went: Let it Be. Let Shoaib Malik be ...

  • Yaser on January 20, 2009, 16:41 GMT

    You must feel pretty stupid right now Mr. Abbasi. Malik has proved a lot of critics wrong and even the great Wasim Akram accepted the fact that Maliks captaincy proved him wrong. But your ego or whatever gets in your way and you keep asking for Afridi to be given the captaincy which makes absolutely no sense. Malik is carrying a pretty damn good record recently and shows improvement each day so unless you can come up with a real reason, your criticism of him is completely unjustified. No captain is perfect and no one is born a leader. You failed to understand that and you have always had a blind hate for Malik. The guy beat your Afridis Dolphins with a much less talented and less experienced team. There is no way you can still claim Afridi would make a better captain.

  • sami on January 20, 2009, 16:22 GMT

    I agree with Vijay.No way, how can you judge Malik with the names you mentioned ? In my opinion, he does not deserve a place in the team and how such a player can be a captain. You know what's the meaning of captain ? It means only one thing i.e. to lead from the front, to show the way to the followers and to do so captain must have excellent professional skills along with captaincy skills and especially to take the pressure. I am not too sure about Malik that he has these traits, but the problem is again, what choices do we have ?

  • Saif Aly on January 20, 2009, 15:49 GMT

    Shoaib Malik's comments after losing to India: "I want to say thank to all Muslims for supporting Pakistan" was a dumb & stupid statement to make to the world. Does that include Muslims of India? This guy is a dumb ass to make such statements! Why would he wasnt to jeopardize the lives of millions of Muslims by making such statment-that too in India? The answer is simple - because he is a stupid. As a captain and player, he hasn't produced much results for Pakistan. We hear of frictio within pak team because of his failed captaincy. So why would PCB want to still retain in the pak team? On another note: so far he has had 2 women in his life: A Hindu and the other Muslim. Sayali Bhagat should know who she's associating with. This is the same man who's in denial of marrying Ayesha Siddiqui from Hydrabad when the whole Pak team attended his wedding incl. the burly Inzaman. Sayali, better be safe than sorry. Stay away fromt his jerk. I would believe Mohd. Yousof on Shoaib's captaincy

  • Farid Zikaria on January 20, 2009, 15:23 GMT

    I totally disagree with you kamran on sacking shoaib malik as a captain. He has improved a lot since he became a captain and is still learning and i think he is doing a good job in picking up things. I think if we give him more time maybe a year or two more, he'll be a very good captain for pakistan as he is young and has time to grow. I don't think we should go along the path of naming misbah or younis or yousuf captains as they are aging. Lets go with SM, he has a potential of being a very good captain.

  • Mohammed Anwar on January 20, 2009, 15:20 GMT

    Kamran abbasi , you mention that Captaincy should be changed , but you havent mentioned any alternative or choice for Captaincy

    The reason is that you yourself know there is no one capable of leading Pakistan right now except Shoaib Malik , he is the best choice today..The only committed player along with Younis Khan , Kamran Akmal and Salman butt...

    Then why do you comment without any logic and disrupt an intelligent captaincy decision of the Board.....

    Being a Pakistani you should try to unite your people under Shoaib Malik rather than dividing them....Who if not Shoaib Malik ?? You have no answer......No one does...

    Let Afridi score 10 runs in a match first- then we will think about making him the Captain

    Younis - Doesnt want the job himself

    Misbah - Wont play for more than 3 years

    Shoaib AKHTAR - has to cement place with fitness first

    Who remains now ??? Rao Ifthikar ? Khurram, Manzoor ?? Huh , get a life dude..

    Shoaib Malik is the only available best choice

    AnwaR

  • Suhail Khan, London on January 20, 2009, 14:33 GMT

    Kamran, As usual you have managed to find something negative to harp about! We should just be thankful that international cricket (read quality opposition) has returned to the country, and after a dismal 2008 I dare say results are secondary. Let's hope the series goes on without any ugly incidents. And as for Malik's captaincy, I am not his biggest fan but who esle in the team can be the captain? Younis did not want it, and others are either too junior in international sense (Misbah) or inconsistent (Afridi, Butt). I am afraid we have to stick with him and by the way it is unfair to judge him when he has yet to be tested. Any captain's real test comes in a test match against a quality opposition, and I hope he has his chance against Sri Lanka in the coming months. One more thing - don't be too bullish on the new PCB administration. We all know the glorious past of Aamir Sohail and Miandad as administrators and their passion for money (rather than game). Let's hope they have learned!

  • Omar Khawaja on January 20, 2009, 13:36 GMT

    Talented players will not come at national level that is only reason they move to ICL. players like shahid yousaf how have shown their ability at top level have moved. The day when player like Nasir Jamshed who has proved himself at top level are still out of team and when time will come for test match then we will see Faisal Iqbal in team just because he is nephew of miandad. Come on we do not have systems. Malik does not deserve captaincy. he even does not deserve spot in test and yet he has been made test captain. sorry things are not going to change here.

  • omar on January 20, 2009, 13:15 GMT

    mr vijay please look up shoaib maliks record against the major odi teams over the last 2 years. he was pakistan cricketer ofthe year last year over butt and younis. just because the media of your country only covers the careers of Indian cricketers doesn't mean their biased opinins regardng other players are true. just because ur media doesn't cover certain high achievement non Indian players doesn't mean they don't exist. keep ur biased ignorant opinions to urself

  • Amran on January 20, 2009, 12:43 GMT

    I agree with Vijay. Malik can not be compared to such players. However at one time, he did possess the potential. The lack of cricket has hindered his development and that of the team. I also believe the Malik isn't the domineering skipper, some of the senior players have to take responsibility. When Pakistan crciket was at it's best. Imran Khan was the figure-head, but Javed Miandad was the brains. Malik and the seniors need to help Pakistan cricket. Vijay what is your opinion on Inidian and Pakistan cricketing ties?

  • Wajid on January 20, 2009, 11:45 GMT

    Well i agree with you about the new beginning. But try to be patient with Malik. You will see in the future that how good he will get. And please try to be consistent, this nation need to be consistent. And i do t like the people like Mohammad Yousaf which left country for money. stop talking about that irrelevant topics.

  • Adnan Gul from Portugal on January 20, 2009, 11:00 GMT

    Once again Mr Kamran you are talking the same of relacing captain, OK. I can understand you may have not been impressed with Shoaib Malik but we can not forget that Pakistan is drying out of cricket and showreing with non cricket scandles, so we let Shoaib and Pakistan be on it feet again and only then we would be able to talk about Captain. Shoaib is in terrific form and doing good job so far let him lead the team for longer period so that there is no such thing among players to go against him. Talking about captaincy gives other player to go for their individual performance to get in the captain shoes, and that is dangerous. So support Captain and Pakistan team to grow to challenge the big teams.

  • Omer Admani on January 20, 2009, 10:43 GMT

    I totally agree with you, it is only a matter of time till he gets removed as the captain. It might not happen this series, maybe not the next one but it will happen because he is not a captain. Secondly, he doesn't deserve to be in the team either. He can't play the short ball, the moving ball. Never plays a matchwinning innings. Is considered as an all rounder but only bowls at opportunistic times. Plays 5 bowlers with him such that he bowls out of convenience and opportunity. Is neither a batsman who can bowl nor a bowler who can bat, a nothing player. King on the flattest of pitches, averages 8 and 3 respectively in England and New Zealand out of 30-odd pitches. No technique against the bouncer. Has no place in the test team, and because there are better players like Fawad Alam and Sohail Khan waiting, no place in international cricket for Pakistan.

  • wassem on January 20, 2009, 10:29 GMT

    I don't know Why peaple still name Younis Khan as captain. He can not even decide What he wants. When he is not captain, he tries his best for it i.e back biting etc and when offered, he refused. We have waisted so much so time on him i.e WHEn he was vice captain. I know Shoaib Malik is not a captain type either but frankly speaking we don't have any in the side who is good enough. But atleast he is young and the cricket board should help him by arranging the meeting with the great captains like Imran Khan, a great cricket techtician Miandad and others so that he can learn from them.

  • Vijay Sankar on January 20, 2009, 8:28 GMT

    Shoaib Malik mentioned together with Sehwag, Pietersen and Ponting....comeon...what are you talking Ali? I always thought Younis and Yousuf were much much better than him. Shoaib will have to be a lot more consistent to even be considered together with Pietersen, Sehwag and Ponting. I am not mentioning Gambhir here because he has just had one such year. He has to show consistency over the years.

  • Martin Hooks on January 20, 2009, 8:19 GMT

    Afridis cricketing intelligence (or lack of it) has been proved time and again , when he had made Pakistan loose matches while going for some flamboyant stroke (WCT20 final and league match) when all that was needed was some singles. He does come up with one amazing innings once in while but in terms of percentages , the team has lost more times due to him rather than win....And with him as captain........God help the bankrupt PCB....

  • RameshS on January 20, 2009, 7:31 GMT

    Mallik needs to go for a couple reasons. 1. He cannot be an automatic choice in the Pak lineup. 2. His body language is pathetic. I dont know how he can inspire his team to a new level. Younus Khan or Misbah would be the logical choices. But nobody seems to know what is going through Younus' mind. A strong Pak team would help world cricket immensely.

  • Zafar on January 20, 2009, 6:51 GMT

    If Malik fails and Pak loses, replace him with Afridi (no joke). I think his captaincy with Dolphins is quite underrated and with the skill we possess, we can only get better. Never been a big fan of Malik's leadership after he intentionally made his team lose few years back in First class, for personal reason.

    With Afridi we have aggressiveness that was lacked in this team for a quite some time. Pak were known for their aggression and their success was while they were aggressive and I for one can't see this while Malik is in the lead.

  • Rahat Baloch on January 20, 2009, 6:44 GMT

    Its good to see cricket is back in Pakistan. The one way to bring other nations to play in Pakistan is to beat them or totally outclass them but with malik's captaincy and now M.yousuf's ban I don't think so Pakistan is capable of winning any major series.Pakistan needs to find a pool of players who they believe will take them to no#1 spot. Malik is not a captaincy material. He is not aggrasive or someone who thinks out of the box. But problem with current team is that we don't have any alternative of Malik or any player who can replace him. Afridi well, he has to earn his place every series because he is too inconsistent for me especially with a bat. Younis, he refused captaincy so it would not be wise to try him again. Misbah again this guy has been regular with team since T20 WC and still finding his feet at international level. So who else remain Akhtar again same old issues fit today injured tomorrow. I think Pakistan has to stick with Shoaib may ber he will click one day.

    Ray

  • Shafiq on January 20, 2009, 5:54 GMT

    As far as Mailik is not trying to save his place in the team, giving chances to bat & bowl to youngstars, he is the best player & captain---and the team man in this pakistan set up (along with Younis khan)..... malik a bit more sensible, mature & responsible.

  • digitalNorthridge on January 20, 2009, 5:45 GMT

    Younus Khan should be captain. Shoaib Malik can only play well against weak bowling attacks, that is the case most of the time.Oh yes we need a wicket keeper.

  • Ashfaq Shah on January 20, 2009, 5:45 GMT

    Those vouching for Mishab as leader are missing a beat, he is older than Muhammad Yousuf, how long at max do we think he will last?

  • najeeb on January 20, 2009, 5:15 GMT

    i don't agree with you as far as the issue of dropping shoaib malik as a catain is concerned, i think he is doing a fairly good job and should be allowed nore time.

  • Ali on January 20, 2009, 5:13 GMT

    Players like Shahid Yousuf have shown us how much depth Pakistan cricket truly has. Despite the departure of a few openers we have come across the likes of Manzoor, Jamshed, and Latif with the Hameed still around. Pakistan has a lot of talent despite what people say. Yet we continue to fail to get it right in the most important positions. Captaincy being one of them. Shoaib Malik is probably one of the best one day batsman in the world. People think Sehwag, Pietersen, Gambhir, Ponting, and the rest without even mentioning Malik. Malik knows how to build a one day innings better than most. He's a very good batsman especially of spin. Saying all that, he's not a leader of men and we've seen this as a captain. Regardless of what people think about Inzamam, the players played for him. Players will play because its their job but to excel all the stars need to be aligned. Younis Khan should have been given the job with Misbah as his deputy. Power should have been given to him.

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  • Ali on January 20, 2009, 5:13 GMT

    Players like Shahid Yousuf have shown us how much depth Pakistan cricket truly has. Despite the departure of a few openers we have come across the likes of Manzoor, Jamshed, and Latif with the Hameed still around. Pakistan has a lot of talent despite what people say. Yet we continue to fail to get it right in the most important positions. Captaincy being one of them. Shoaib Malik is probably one of the best one day batsman in the world. People think Sehwag, Pietersen, Gambhir, Ponting, and the rest without even mentioning Malik. Malik knows how to build a one day innings better than most. He's a very good batsman especially of spin. Saying all that, he's not a leader of men and we've seen this as a captain. Regardless of what people think about Inzamam, the players played for him. Players will play because its their job but to excel all the stars need to be aligned. Younis Khan should have been given the job with Misbah as his deputy. Power should have been given to him.

  • najeeb on January 20, 2009, 5:15 GMT

    i don't agree with you as far as the issue of dropping shoaib malik as a catain is concerned, i think he is doing a fairly good job and should be allowed nore time.

  • Ashfaq Shah on January 20, 2009, 5:45 GMT

    Those vouching for Mishab as leader are missing a beat, he is older than Muhammad Yousuf, how long at max do we think he will last?

  • digitalNorthridge on January 20, 2009, 5:45 GMT

    Younus Khan should be captain. Shoaib Malik can only play well against weak bowling attacks, that is the case most of the time.Oh yes we need a wicket keeper.

  • Shafiq on January 20, 2009, 5:54 GMT

    As far as Mailik is not trying to save his place in the team, giving chances to bat & bowl to youngstars, he is the best player & captain---and the team man in this pakistan set up (along with Younis khan)..... malik a bit more sensible, mature & responsible.

  • Rahat Baloch on January 20, 2009, 6:44 GMT

    Its good to see cricket is back in Pakistan. The one way to bring other nations to play in Pakistan is to beat them or totally outclass them but with malik's captaincy and now M.yousuf's ban I don't think so Pakistan is capable of winning any major series.Pakistan needs to find a pool of players who they believe will take them to no#1 spot. Malik is not a captaincy material. He is not aggrasive or someone who thinks out of the box. But problem with current team is that we don't have any alternative of Malik or any player who can replace him. Afridi well, he has to earn his place every series because he is too inconsistent for me especially with a bat. Younis, he refused captaincy so it would not be wise to try him again. Misbah again this guy has been regular with team since T20 WC and still finding his feet at international level. So who else remain Akhtar again same old issues fit today injured tomorrow. I think Pakistan has to stick with Shoaib may ber he will click one day.

    Ray

  • Zafar on January 20, 2009, 6:51 GMT

    If Malik fails and Pak loses, replace him with Afridi (no joke). I think his captaincy with Dolphins is quite underrated and with the skill we possess, we can only get better. Never been a big fan of Malik's leadership after he intentionally made his team lose few years back in First class, for personal reason.

    With Afridi we have aggressiveness that was lacked in this team for a quite some time. Pak were known for their aggression and their success was while they were aggressive and I for one can't see this while Malik is in the lead.

  • RameshS on January 20, 2009, 7:31 GMT

    Mallik needs to go for a couple reasons. 1. He cannot be an automatic choice in the Pak lineup. 2. His body language is pathetic. I dont know how he can inspire his team to a new level. Younus Khan or Misbah would be the logical choices. But nobody seems to know what is going through Younus' mind. A strong Pak team would help world cricket immensely.

  • Martin Hooks on January 20, 2009, 8:19 GMT

    Afridis cricketing intelligence (or lack of it) has been proved time and again , when he had made Pakistan loose matches while going for some flamboyant stroke (WCT20 final and league match) when all that was needed was some singles. He does come up with one amazing innings once in while but in terms of percentages , the team has lost more times due to him rather than win....And with him as captain........God help the bankrupt PCB....

  • Vijay Sankar on January 20, 2009, 8:28 GMT

    Shoaib Malik mentioned together with Sehwag, Pietersen and Ponting....comeon...what are you talking Ali? I always thought Younis and Yousuf were much much better than him. Shoaib will have to be a lot more consistent to even be considered together with Pietersen, Sehwag and Ponting. I am not mentioning Gambhir here because he has just had one such year. He has to show consistency over the years.