Age of Khan November 23, 2009

I've never been more worried about Pakistan cricket

Mohammad Yousuf will lead the team in conditions that will severely test his batsmen -- and to many eyes the captain himself is the only credible Test batsman in the squad

Younis Khan remains the best man for the captaincy role, and it is a bitter disappointment that he has withdrawn from the tour to New Zealand © Associated Press

Pakistan cricket is on the 'critical' list. Mohammad Yousuf will lead the team in conditions that will severely test his batsmen -- and to many eyes the captain himself is the only credible Test batsman in the squad. Younis Khan's withdrawal has depleted the reserves of proper batsmen by 50%. The fault lies partly with the paucity of cricket that Pakistan have played recently but mainly with the PCB's inability to develop batsmen over the last decade.

Unfortunately, a sequence of Test series in New Zealand, Australia, and England is an inhospitable agenda for players with inexperience or technical frailties. Pakistan have many batsmen in both categories. This situation is a shame for Pakistan's blossoming bowling attack. The gulf between the two major arts of cricket has become wider than at almost any time in Pakistan's history.

A bigger concern, however, remains the leadership. It is hard to see Yousuf possessing the attributes that are required. Already, nervousness about the batting conditions in New Zealand and talk of decision-making by committee are causes for concern. Only strong leadership can pull Pakistan out of this hole. We need Pakistan to grow over the next months and arrive in Australia and then in England ready for battle. Next summer, and what it means for the survival of Pakistan cricket in particular, demands a strong showing.

Which brings us back to the Younis saga. He remains the best man for the job, and it is a bitter disappointment that he has withdrawn from this tour. Younis is disillusioned with the captaincy, his poor form could have been accomodated if his fellows had supported him. This partybazi [groupism], player muscle-flexing is a root of Pakistan's ills.

Worryingly, Ijaz Butt and the PCB failed to stub out the dissent in the team. They failed in their governance role. Once Younis was awarded the captaincy, any player unwilling to play under him should have been dropped however big his ego or reputation. The PCB must accept responsibility for not managing this crisis properly. The whole future of Pakistan cricket is plunged back into jeopardy.

The New Zealand tour may already be a lost cause -- just look at the batsmen in the squad -- but by the time Pakistan arrive in Australia the captaincy issue must be settled. And that means Younis in charge with a team made up of players willing to play under him, at least in Test cricket. At a push, Shahid Afridi could manage both one-day formats. But Test cricket, the blue ribbon event, requires Younis. He should be urged to build for Pakistan's future and given the right backing by his cricket board.

I've never been more worried about Pakistan cricket. This is a make-or-break year and disastrous decisions by the PCB, such as choosing the wrong captain, could destroy any chance of Pakistan's revival as a cricketing force. Pakistan fans will always support their team, whoever leads and whoever plays, but it is the habitual mismanagement that we cannot tolerate.

Mr Butt and his fellow board members must recognise the danger that Pakistan cricket is in and act.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on December 23, 2011, 3:49 GMT

    This is way more helupfl than anything else I've looked at.

  • testli5504537 on December 22, 2009, 7:00 GMT

    dear abbasi, let me remind you of shoaib malik period of captaincy, he was only dismissed from captaincy due to his poor batting form, first of all yunis is a batsman after that he is a captain,

  • testli5504537 on December 21, 2009, 7:35 GMT

    As a batsman I have lots of respect for Muhammad Yousuf. When it comes to captaining a fielding side I am afraid he lacks clutch time leadership which separates a captain from first-rated captain. 4th inning of Napier test shows all that. Target of above 200 runs should have been fought for winning the series. 90 for 0 in nineteen overs and 120 more needed from 43 overs seemed to be a CAKE for feeble kiwis batting against Pakistani batting demolishers. From fielding side there was no body language or aggression which is very much needed to make opponent change their approach. Well, Rain changed that course making 1-1 series tie. Series are won from the front, and I hope that Yousuf step up and get to the next level while captaining against Australians.

  • testli5504537 on December 16, 2009, 11:08 GMT

    good point kamran sb. i think shoaib mailk should be replaced. so far yousuf is playing and pakistan need him. bring back Hassan raza he secored 33 hundreds at home. poor selectors only gave hassan raza only 7 tests in his whole career. and faisal iqbal is gifted with 24 coz his uncle's name is behind him. WOW

  • testli5504537 on December 16, 2009, 10:54 GMT

    Team lead should set examples to other team members. younis own performance is ?. he should learn how to deal with pplz. shoaib mailk should be reserved for subcontinent piches. bring back some alrounders in test. i think afridi can be very helpful for pakistan in test. have mercy on mohammad amir, send him in nca for some physical training coz plying to much cricket with this body will ruined his career. Pakistan team one young bating/feilding and one bowling coach.

  • testli5504537 on December 8, 2009, 17:29 GMT

    I couldn't disagree more. As somebody has already said, such a drama-queen should be banned from cricketing fields, but only that he has been preforming well in Test matches (emphasis Test matches), I won't mind his inclusion in the team as a player but definitely not as a Captain. I wonder why people don't pay attention to his record in one-dayers and claim that he forms the backbone of Pakistan batting line up. This is due to players like him, we think Shoaib Malik is a better one-day batsman (proven by his numbers at No. 3). Gone are the days when A H Kardar or Imran Khan could deal with the team issues by bullying the players. Even had they not been good performers, their reigns would have been much shorter. It would be a sheer disappointment if Younis is once again named Captain of Pakistan team.

  • testli5504537 on November 27, 2009, 8:38 GMT

    well well, 8 wickets down and Pakistan might have to chase 260 to win a test match in Dunedin. Seems like Yousuf's captaincy has been fine at least in the second innings, he also looks serious and acts like he knows what he is doing. Does Dhoni smile? Vettori? Graeme Smith? So why is Younis Khan constantly smiling? One look at Yousuf tells you this guy must be respected, the same cannot be said of 'nice guy' YK. Misbah is also on the way, as requested by yousuf, hopefully at the expense of the useless Shoaib Malik, who can't bat, can't bowl and can't catch yet wears his collar up thinking he is Mark Waugh. The difference is Mark Waugh could bowl, bat like a champion and field like a genius. We have teenagers who could become superstars, I have no time for cry babies like Younis Khan or show offs like Shoaib Malik. Even if we lose this Test, at least Pakistan showed some quality and character, and this is great preparation for Australia. I cannot wait for the Boxing Day Test Match.

  • testli5504537 on November 26, 2009, 21:22 GMT

    Wow, how primitive minded are people here? Granted, Younis hasn't perform well recently and his position in the team can be questioned because of his recent form, but to suddenly start bashing him for everything is ridiculous. If anything, Younis showed maturity by giving up captaincy when he didn't have the support of his players. Unlike in the past where power-hungry captains have sought to maintain their position at the expense of the team. Clearly there is something wrong with the dressing room culture of the Pakistani team, given that time and again captains have lacked support form their team members. I would therefore agree with Mr. Abbasi that what is required is to choose a captain and then ensure that he has a team that supports him. If players don't support him you either take them out of the team, or you change your captain. But when a captain is initially selected the team should certainly be built around him, because I think a good captain is essential.

  • testli5504537 on November 26, 2009, 17:24 GMT

    i agree.younis is the man for the job.drop any player who is not willing to be under him

  • testli5504537 on November 25, 2009, 22:03 GMT

    I am really not surprised but sad at what kind of ethnic colour this cricketing blog has taken. It gives the world good picture of how much we are divided such a shame. Espeically the coments about regionalism i.e. Punjabi, Pathan, Karachi all this is bad. But I must say onething that Younus Khan is the best person to lead the team regardless of where he comes from, he has done a damn good job of it.

    Like my earlier blog only time will tell that bites and peices criketer will be brushed aside by new talent. To all of my fellow cricket lover friends. Please rise above your personal & regionalism. No one is perfect and never will be in this world. As I said earlier Blog playing for pakistan is an hounour not right as of of these egoistic player thing they have & those players need to go NOW. PCB have to wake up & make a tough call on this issue.PLAYER ARE NOT BIGGER THAN CRICKET PLZ MAKE THE RIGHT DESISION. it hould be put in every players mind that play foe the TEAM not himself.

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