New age March 5, 2010

Toecrusher and the Eagle

Amid the machinations among players, administrators, and politicians, two important decisions have been taken
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As a modern great Waqar will have some leeway to establish himself and his methods, although any presumption that he will still be in post at the end of 2011 is ill founded © Getty Images

These have been a particularly bewildering few weeks in the bewildering world of Pakistan cricket. And who knows what thunderbolt will strike next? Some issues are better put to one side until some evidence emerges. Match fixing is a prime example. Cricketers, like their fellow humans, are ever fallible and inconsistent, hence accusations about match fixing based solely on mistakes and decisions during a match are invariably impossible to prove.

My own brief inquiry into the latest flurry of claims revealed that, according to an ICC spokesman, no information has been passed by ICC to the PCB. In these circumstances, it would be helpful, nay obligatory on the PCB, to provide clarification about the true nature of any concerns.

Amid the machinations among players, administrators, and politicians, two important decisions have been taken. Waqar Younis is head coach and Mohsin Khan is chairman of selectors. A third, appointing Shahid Afridi as Pakistan’s new captain is more pressing and more needed.

A final decision, most important of all and incumbent upon the Patron of the Pakistan Cricket Board, is required to rid Pakistan cricket of the calamity of Ijaz Butt’s leadership. Mr Butt’s greatest triumph has been to make some of his more questionable predecessors look like highly skilled professionals.

That Pakistan cricket is in a mess is clear. But there is a way out and it lies through putting up a fight on the cricket pitch and climbing back up the cricket rankings. Without the cricket board operating in the right way, any hope of a consistent revival is a distant one. More the pity, as another World Twenty20 followed by a series against Australia and England offers ample opportunity for resuscitation.

Indeed, you might argue that Waqar the Toecrusher, Mohsin the Eagle, and Shahid the Ball-biter, if he is appointed, have been handed an impossible hand. How can these good men and true—we hope—lead their charges through the perpetual storm that is Pakistan cricket? Will any of them survive long enough to make a difference? We all know that contracts, guarantees of longevity, and utterances of support count for nothing.

As supporters of Pakistan cricket our duty is to wish these fellows well at the dawn of another day in the last chance saloon. None of them is perfect but they have all displayed heroism at some point in international colours.

Waqar was a champion bowler, a true great of the modern game. But for injury his record would have been even more earth shattering, his legend even larger. Much of Waqar’s career was a spectacle but I’ll never forget the way he once demolished Brian Lara in the desert heat of Sharjah. It only served to emphasise what world cricket lost when Waqar had to yield to injuries during his prime.

Unfortunately, Waqar did embroil himself in the player politics of his age, the post-Imran era that returned Pakistan cricket to divisions within the team. We can only hope that Waqar has learned that such behaviour is destructive and will impress as much upon his charges.

When the captaincy came his way, it was probably ill timed, his fast bowling powers were on the wane and many of his best players were ending their careers. At the beginning of the last decade, Pakistan were a team in decline and the Burewalla Express was unable to stop it.

Waqar’s biggest coaching break was to work under Bob Woolmer, Pakistan’s best ever coach. Confined to helping the bowlers, there was progress among Pakistan’s pace attack, with Umar Gul and Mohammad Asif beginning to establish themselves. But a lead coach has broader duties of management, tactics, and technique. Batting and fielding are Pakistan’s biggest concerns, areas in which Waqar never excelled nor acquired great experience.

These challenges will be tough for Waqar and his best strategy will be to employ experts in the areas where he is weak. At the very least if Waqar can revive Pakistan’s spirit and attacking brand of cricket, as well as forging a constructive relationship with the captain, half the battle will be won.

As a modern great Waqar will have some leeway to establish himself and his methods, although any presumption that he will still be in post at the end of 2011 is ill founded. Mohsin Khan, meanwhile, as a less modern and less great cricketer will have even less latitude. Yet, Mohsin was a dashing personality and flamboyant batsman at a time when Pakistan really began to establish itself as an international force. He also had the example of Imran Khan to help him understand the strong, no-nonsense approach that is required to get the best out of Pakistan cricket.

Mohsin’s biggest challenge will be managing the internal politics of the PCB and ensuring the integrity of his selection panel. A good start would be set clear rules of engagement with the PCB chairman, in other words the selection panel must be independent of the chairman and the other board members—in word and deed. In addition, a new chief selector should also mean change in the panel itself. Indeed, the selection panel requires more modern cricketers, not the long retired sycophants who live off the bounty of the board.

Unfortunately, Ijaz Butt has a habit of appointing friends or people he can control in positions of responsibility. The biggest question in my mind is whether or not Waqar and Mohsin can be their own men and do what is right for Pakistan cricket? In any senior leadership position it is better to fail by your own mistakes than fail because you compromised your vision, principles, or ideas.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • waterbuffalo on March 16, 2010, 5:35 GMT

    Appoint Afridi as captain? First off, he told the PCB he didn't want to play Test cricket, secondly, the guy can't bat for 20 mins, let alone 2 hours, unlike a true batsman like Yousuf, thirdly, his bowling is very ordinary, unlike Imran, Waqar, Wasim, fourthly, he steps on balls and bites on balls to tamper it and gets caught all the time because he is stupid, and this is the guy you want as captain? You know the sign? "There Are No Words".

  • Raheel Masood on March 9, 2010, 12:20 GMT

    I completely agree that the PCB Chairman's incompetence and erratic behaviour completely undermine any hope of resurrecting Pakistan's glory days. Waqar is a good person to lead the team, but will he be given the chance to actually work or asked to bow to pressure from those who want to control him?

    Further, the report from the committee investigating the Aussie tour is on the horizon and the findings seem to belong in some strange science fiction movie! Somehow M. Yousuf is being listened to as well as Intikhab Alam. Virtually every real cricket expert and fan saw that Pakistan would have won something if it were not for the wimpy captaincy of M. Yousuf.

    Let's take the rising talent of Umar Akmal and mess with it. After finally having found a captain who inspires players to fight till the last ball, lets find a way to bring him down. Granted, he ain't the brightest when it comes to ball biting, but he does make a difference on the field. Sigh, when will it end? Pakistan Zindabad!

  • addas khan on March 9, 2010, 10:13 GMT

    Waqar is a legend and CAN be a great coach but this is doomed to fail!!!! Sorry Death of Pakistan Cricket its all over we are the new West Indies....possibly worse Imrans Boys have all departed the world of cricket!!!!!

  • Asif on March 9, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    I don't understand the logic in ignoring afridi for captaincy.Since afridi admitted his mistake,apologised to the whole world & vowed not to repeat the mistake he should have been forgiven.His two match suspension which is the maximum as per icc rules is more than enough & the pcb should take the example of the australian cricket board which is backing johnson after the head butting incident.Atherton remained the captain after he tampered with the ball & there are numerous other instances where no action was taken by the authorities. The pcb never backs its players & now since icc is allowing afridi to play than why the pcb is reluctant to give him the captaincy.Ejaz butt should immediately appoint afridi captain for all the three formats of the game.

  • majid on March 8, 2010, 23:16 GMT

    Wow! Afridi as captain. Pakistan really has sunk to the depths if the only person who is considered worthy of leading the nation in its national sport, being a role model for youngsters and an ambassador for the country is someone who has been blatantly shown to be a cheater not just once but twice! He has shown no ability to learn from his mistakes yet people on this forum conveniently seek to overlook them. This sums up Pakistan- blame everyone else, fail to take responsibility for their own issues and use Islam as a toy to play and discard at will. These people who start every sentence with 'in the name of god' yet carry out these actions bring disrepute on the country and the religion. better to lose with dignity then cheat.

  • MARLO on March 8, 2010, 18:56 GMT

    We are in the worst ever cricket affairs management era of our country. A person not even smart enough to manage a club is doing it a one-man-show. Arround him are some of his yes men who dont speak their mind or act independently. I wonder if Waqar and Mohsen will do differently. A man who doesn't even know when to open his mouth to say some words or when to keep it shut, one who doesn't even manage to have dicipline in his own ranks asks for dicipline in the team... I don't expect some good from him. sorry kamran, but I see Mr. Misbah taking over the captaincy

  • Shahid on March 8, 2010, 18:46 GMT

    Media repports suggest that inquiry committee has recommended imposing a fine on afridi for his ball bitting act and sources suggest Misbah or razaq could be named as captain.

    I believe, inquiry committee's recommendations should be met. Those recommented to be banned or fined should have it as per suggested BUT its gonna be a grave mistake to not make afridi captain at this stage. Whole the nation or at least a vast majority of it wants afridi to be named as captain, common sense asks for it too as the state of our cricket needs a team leader who can believe in his own ideas and show aggresivity. It will be totally stupid to bring in some one who again stays for a single event. SO MIND YOU DECISION MR. BIG BUTT

  • khalil on March 8, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    Pak just need good team leadership & a series vs India but not against Eng or Aus. Playing cricket against India always bring good results for our cricket. Our players must be sweating to play against India,the way the Indians are playing their cricket these days. All praise for the Indian cricket team.

  • Shahid on March 8, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    I dont see anything changing. Imran Farhat and Faisal Iqbal will still be considered. Discarded players like Hafiz, Misbah and trouble makers like shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal will go on doing the same. Ejaz Butt will still be the one-man power behind all selection matters.

    We need to get rid of Ejaz Butt, Bari, Miandad, Ilyas........We need to bring in Rashid Latif and Amer Sohail type honest people. We need to rebuild, try young players like Naved Yasin and a lot more.

    For God sake drop these stupid names like Leopards, Wolves etc. Its Pakistan, call them only by city names otherwise it takes half an hour for every one to find out who is who.

  • Usman Zia on March 8, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    You have got it spot on. The biggest decision will be to appoint Afridi to Captain. Ejaz Butt has to go if Pakistan Cricket ever has to come back up. Worst administrator ever. If he doesnt appoint Afridi Captain, then its going to be the worst day of Pakistan cricket. Something tells me that something is not right somewhere. They are planning to make Shoib Malik captain again. I read someone making a remark about Imran era. No matter what he was doing with the team, we were winning. we won in Windies, India, England and showed good fight in Australia. Since he has entered politics, a certain group just hates whatever he has done for the country. Can you please put politics aside from cricket?

  • waterbuffalo on March 16, 2010, 5:35 GMT

    Appoint Afridi as captain? First off, he told the PCB he didn't want to play Test cricket, secondly, the guy can't bat for 20 mins, let alone 2 hours, unlike a true batsman like Yousuf, thirdly, his bowling is very ordinary, unlike Imran, Waqar, Wasim, fourthly, he steps on balls and bites on balls to tamper it and gets caught all the time because he is stupid, and this is the guy you want as captain? You know the sign? "There Are No Words".

  • Raheel Masood on March 9, 2010, 12:20 GMT

    I completely agree that the PCB Chairman's incompetence and erratic behaviour completely undermine any hope of resurrecting Pakistan's glory days. Waqar is a good person to lead the team, but will he be given the chance to actually work or asked to bow to pressure from those who want to control him?

    Further, the report from the committee investigating the Aussie tour is on the horizon and the findings seem to belong in some strange science fiction movie! Somehow M. Yousuf is being listened to as well as Intikhab Alam. Virtually every real cricket expert and fan saw that Pakistan would have won something if it were not for the wimpy captaincy of M. Yousuf.

    Let's take the rising talent of Umar Akmal and mess with it. After finally having found a captain who inspires players to fight till the last ball, lets find a way to bring him down. Granted, he ain't the brightest when it comes to ball biting, but he does make a difference on the field. Sigh, when will it end? Pakistan Zindabad!

  • addas khan on March 9, 2010, 10:13 GMT

    Waqar is a legend and CAN be a great coach but this is doomed to fail!!!! Sorry Death of Pakistan Cricket its all over we are the new West Indies....possibly worse Imrans Boys have all departed the world of cricket!!!!!

  • Asif on March 9, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    I don't understand the logic in ignoring afridi for captaincy.Since afridi admitted his mistake,apologised to the whole world & vowed not to repeat the mistake he should have been forgiven.His two match suspension which is the maximum as per icc rules is more than enough & the pcb should take the example of the australian cricket board which is backing johnson after the head butting incident.Atherton remained the captain after he tampered with the ball & there are numerous other instances where no action was taken by the authorities. The pcb never backs its players & now since icc is allowing afridi to play than why the pcb is reluctant to give him the captaincy.Ejaz butt should immediately appoint afridi captain for all the three formats of the game.

  • majid on March 8, 2010, 23:16 GMT

    Wow! Afridi as captain. Pakistan really has sunk to the depths if the only person who is considered worthy of leading the nation in its national sport, being a role model for youngsters and an ambassador for the country is someone who has been blatantly shown to be a cheater not just once but twice! He has shown no ability to learn from his mistakes yet people on this forum conveniently seek to overlook them. This sums up Pakistan- blame everyone else, fail to take responsibility for their own issues and use Islam as a toy to play and discard at will. These people who start every sentence with 'in the name of god' yet carry out these actions bring disrepute on the country and the religion. better to lose with dignity then cheat.

  • MARLO on March 8, 2010, 18:56 GMT

    We are in the worst ever cricket affairs management era of our country. A person not even smart enough to manage a club is doing it a one-man-show. Arround him are some of his yes men who dont speak their mind or act independently. I wonder if Waqar and Mohsen will do differently. A man who doesn't even know when to open his mouth to say some words or when to keep it shut, one who doesn't even manage to have dicipline in his own ranks asks for dicipline in the team... I don't expect some good from him. sorry kamran, but I see Mr. Misbah taking over the captaincy

  • Shahid on March 8, 2010, 18:46 GMT

    Media repports suggest that inquiry committee has recommended imposing a fine on afridi for his ball bitting act and sources suggest Misbah or razaq could be named as captain.

    I believe, inquiry committee's recommendations should be met. Those recommented to be banned or fined should have it as per suggested BUT its gonna be a grave mistake to not make afridi captain at this stage. Whole the nation or at least a vast majority of it wants afridi to be named as captain, common sense asks for it too as the state of our cricket needs a team leader who can believe in his own ideas and show aggresivity. It will be totally stupid to bring in some one who again stays for a single event. SO MIND YOU DECISION MR. BIG BUTT

  • khalil on March 8, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    Pak just need good team leadership & a series vs India but not against Eng or Aus. Playing cricket against India always bring good results for our cricket. Our players must be sweating to play against India,the way the Indians are playing their cricket these days. All praise for the Indian cricket team.

  • Shahid on March 8, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    I dont see anything changing. Imran Farhat and Faisal Iqbal will still be considered. Discarded players like Hafiz, Misbah and trouble makers like shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal will go on doing the same. Ejaz Butt will still be the one-man power behind all selection matters.

    We need to get rid of Ejaz Butt, Bari, Miandad, Ilyas........We need to bring in Rashid Latif and Amer Sohail type honest people. We need to rebuild, try young players like Naved Yasin and a lot more.

    For God sake drop these stupid names like Leopards, Wolves etc. Its Pakistan, call them only by city names otherwise it takes half an hour for every one to find out who is who.

  • Usman Zia on March 8, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    You have got it spot on. The biggest decision will be to appoint Afridi to Captain. Ejaz Butt has to go if Pakistan Cricket ever has to come back up. Worst administrator ever. If he doesnt appoint Afridi Captain, then its going to be the worst day of Pakistan cricket. Something tells me that something is not right somewhere. They are planning to make Shoib Malik captain again. I read someone making a remark about Imran era. No matter what he was doing with the team, we were winning. we won in Windies, India, England and showed good fight in Australia. Since he has entered politics, a certain group just hates whatever he has done for the country. Can you please put politics aside from cricket?

  • Nauman Rupani on March 8, 2010, 1:14 GMT

    New coach and chairman of selector is refreshing,but its not the solution.What we need is a radical change in philosophy & attitude towards the game.You mentioned factions in the team & its evident they exist.We've been putting 11 players,not ONE team in the field for some time now.We must now remove all who have issues with each other & let them settle things off the field.That includes Malik & Yousuf for sure,add to it Kamran & Afridi if need be.Nothing is more important than country's name & pride,no player is bigger than game & absence of a couple of stars doesn't always equate to disappointment.Waqar in his absolute prime had to miss WC'92 & we won as a unit including young,inexperience & untested Inzi & Sohail in difficult conditions.Its about time we put power in the hands of head coach & chief selector,let them devise the plans & pick 11 competent & disciplined lads that can back their captain & execute.Those who find it difficult to behave can return to street-cricket.

  • Morad Mir on March 7, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    Sonia at March 5, 2010 6:04 PM

    Come on Sonia. Accordinging to the rules of the game, Afridi has been punished accordingly and rightly so!

    Now, like with other sports, he needs to get on with his career and contribution to Pakistan Cricket.

    Atherton continued as Captain after the dirt in pocket affair!

    Ponting is still the captain despite having very bad drinks problem and attitude on the field!

    Mike Gatting and his infamous rudeness to the umpire in Pakistan continued....

    Should I go on......

  • Morad Mir on March 7, 2010, 7:34 GMT

    Strong Selection with WAQAR & MOHSIN KHAN.

    Now the PCB needs to let these guys get on with the job and select the right Captain followed by a long-term team structure.

    Unless this happens, the writing is on the wall for WAQAR and MOHSIN as has been the case with those before them.

  • Muhammedhi on March 7, 2010, 0:12 GMT

    Only one more step needed, appoint AFRIDI as captain for all 3 formats

  • Irfan on March 6, 2010, 22:21 GMT

    Hi KA,

    My last post was snubbed by you? I say it's ok, as it was more of personal reflection on your stand point on your lame last piece.

    So it's Afridi now eh! The "boll boiter" as Aussies would say. Sorry buddy but I was looking for a little more genuine pick from you then the run of the mill. I watched Afridi today, score an idiotic eleven ball 29 run in the game between Karachi and Sialkot in the T20 semi final. What a pitiful, massive, waste! As the most experinced batsman he really sucked. Because like always he didn't cease the opportunity to influence this game. It is clear to me now that this guy is anything but captaincy material. After his bickering over captainship with KCCA, the cool way Sami handled his men was really heartening. Unfortunately Sami is not in the national team and will never be able to captain but he certainly led the way today with his performance. He showed why he was the better man for the job over Mr. Boom Boom.

  • Frustrated paki fan on March 6, 2010, 17:27 GMT

    For dos who think dar'll be any change dnt b mistaken des are da people(waqar, ijaz)dat can b used as dummy's by mr butt dar'l be no change same farhats n kamrans n faisals wil b playing n soon we'l here we got whitewash against bangladesh or zimbabwe if i recall my memory since shoaib n wasim left dey cudnt produce 1 INTERNATIONAL PLAYER who can at least speak english properly An absolute rubbish is wat pakistan cricket right now n dats becoz of zardari n his chamcha's like ijaz butt

  • MuhammedhTamil on March 6, 2010, 3:02 GMT

    TO WIN BACK, PAK ONLY NEED CAPTAIN IN AFRIDI-T20 AFRIDI-ODI AFRIDI-TEST

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

    I AM AN SRI LANKAN BUT GREAT PAK SUPPORTER CAN'T WAIT TO SEE AFRIDI HOLDS 2 WORLD CUPS 2010 2011

  • Rajesh on March 5, 2010, 22:56 GMT

    Pakistan needs a good batting coach to get its batting on track. The coach should be able to understand culture, relate to players & be outside of internal politics. Gavaskar would be the most suited for this role. It takes courage on PCB & Gavaskar to take up this role. This will have far reaching consequences both in and out of cricket.

  • khanna on March 5, 2010, 22:17 GMT

    while I agree with some of your views, cannot agree with afridi as captain. Afridi is instinctive and not thoughtful. Biting the ball is not just tampering but an act of frustration and desparation. In his mind, he had actually lost that game as a player and was resorting to cheap tactics. He may look aggressive and strong but mentally weak. He is a good 20_20 player till he could bowl decently, least hopes with his batting.

  • moon on March 5, 2010, 20:13 GMT

    THE DAY YOU APPOINT AFRIDI AS A FULL CAPTAIN, THE WORST WILL START FOR PAKISTAN AND ITS CRICKET.ITS BEEN A LONG LONG TIME NOW HE IS PLAYING TOP LEVEL CRICKET, BUT ALL PAKITANI NATION IS STILL WAITING FOR HIM TO BE MATURE AND GROW UP. WHO KNOWS HE WILL NOT DO THE THINGS SHAMEFUL FOR PAKISTAN.

  • oops on March 5, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    kamran sahib, you've nailed this one good. no younus khan, shoaib malik nonsense. you've said it like it is. that's the nature of the beast.

    you obviously love your cricket and cricket without pakistani flair and flamboyance is accountancy, and not the game many around the world love.

  • desihungama on March 5, 2010, 19:19 GMT

    Right the next move should be to remove Ijaz Butt and then incumbent chairman will come in and remove the newly appointed coaches, the selection team and so forth and the cycle goes again and again and again...and we are all fools.

    There is nothing wrong with PCB.

    What is reflected off players is simply how the nation is at this time.....down, lack of confidence, no respect for self and others and absolutely no leadership.

    Other counties are out there taking our clothes off when we travel. In these circumstances, how the heck do you even perform? We have simply lost confidence in our own abilities. Life has only a short cut.

  • Sonia on March 5, 2010, 18:04 GMT

    Dear kamranbhai, Wondering,Where did you hibernate after the Shahid Afridi ball chomping incident, maybe lost your voice, eh? Good that you have picked up yourself and have started advocating Shahid Afridi to be the Captain of the Pakistan Team - Great Model to Emulate- Way to Go PCB

  • Faisal on March 5, 2010, 17:48 GMT

    At this point, all i can say is good luck to Waqar and Mohsin. Its important that both develop an understanding and select players on merit. More importantly end the divisions in the team and bring back some pride in to the boys when playing for Pakistan. Also it is important that Waqar changes the old defensive approach of the team and bring some controlled aggression.

    Afridi must be given a chance to captain the team in all formats. And unlike Younis Khan, PCB has to fully support Afridi. If there is a division in the team after his appointment, those players need to be shown the door with immediate effect.

  • aftab on March 5, 2010, 17:42 GMT

    Let me first say that Rameez Raja's article helped me change my views about Afridi (Give Afridi a break). It is amazing how ICC is getting more runs out of the batsmen at the cost of bowlers. Pakistan is lucky to have best crop of bowlers, but the situation is going to change if ICC's support doesn't come in time. So, I support Afridi as the skipper. The funny thing is that he is the only one from among the three newbees who doesn't have to prove his credntials. Waqar and Mohsin have to show that they represent themselves and not Butt (for once I agree with you Dr. Abbasi). I think Waqar has shown signs of maturity as bowling coach that he didn't show as cricketer. His very appointment could be because he can work with players on a better level than Inti who stood aside and let the team coach itself. Waqar comes from an era that the country is proud of. Mohsin - I don't know. Only Rina Rai comes to mind with his name. Let's hope he selects a beauty again.

  • Javed Iqbal on March 5, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    The most worrying thing to me is the Test Batting! Some one who cna stay on the crease for endless time till the result is achieved. Farhat showed some hope in every inning and got good stats recently but all of a sudden he playes a rash short that starts the batting collapse. Butt is improving but not the best opening batsman technique as sompare to Gambhir, Cook, Amla at top order. No.3 is biggest worry. Some one who can steady the innings when the opener falls. I dont see any player in Pakistan team who can bat like Ponting, Tendulkar, Chanderpaul or Clarke. Middle order is aging in Pakistan with only Yousaf and on his day Younis can make an inning. Akmal is too young and does play rash short or two in proceedings. I think the only option Pakistan has is to play aggressive test match cricket and ride their luck and be good at aggression. otherwise everytime they look to defend and play sensibly they collapse. Waqar & Afridi are the best people to bring some aggression in the team.

  • Hassan Farooqi on March 5, 2010, 15:15 GMT

    Post-Imran-Politics my dear? They were no more than Imran-Era-Politics-Leftovers. Waqar's career was marred by Imran-Era-Politics and came to end due to Imran-Era-Politics-Leftovers. If Imran hated anyone more than Waqar, it was Miandad. He was ready for World Cup 92 without both of them. Miandad made it because first of all he was not involved with a fist-fest with Imran like Waqar did, second he called press conference and proved he was 100% fit.

  • kp on March 5, 2010, 14:20 GMT

    Well thought out as usual. I enjoy reading your articles. Cricketing gents from Pakistan have a rare combination of raw talent and natural flamboyance. It is a real shame that these qualities are not allowed to come thorough due to petty politics. I wish someone high up (a cricket lover for sure) would look at the situation, take responsibility and do something radical to alter the situation. I really miss the confident almost arrogant Pakistan of yore. Let's be optimisitic and hope something gives soon. Cheers to Pakistan cricket.

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  • kp on March 5, 2010, 14:20 GMT

    Well thought out as usual. I enjoy reading your articles. Cricketing gents from Pakistan have a rare combination of raw talent and natural flamboyance. It is a real shame that these qualities are not allowed to come thorough due to petty politics. I wish someone high up (a cricket lover for sure) would look at the situation, take responsibility and do something radical to alter the situation. I really miss the confident almost arrogant Pakistan of yore. Let's be optimisitic and hope something gives soon. Cheers to Pakistan cricket.

  • Hassan Farooqi on March 5, 2010, 15:15 GMT

    Post-Imran-Politics my dear? They were no more than Imran-Era-Politics-Leftovers. Waqar's career was marred by Imran-Era-Politics and came to end due to Imran-Era-Politics-Leftovers. If Imran hated anyone more than Waqar, it was Miandad. He was ready for World Cup 92 without both of them. Miandad made it because first of all he was not involved with a fist-fest with Imran like Waqar did, second he called press conference and proved he was 100% fit.

  • Javed Iqbal on March 5, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    The most worrying thing to me is the Test Batting! Some one who cna stay on the crease for endless time till the result is achieved. Farhat showed some hope in every inning and got good stats recently but all of a sudden he playes a rash short that starts the batting collapse. Butt is improving but not the best opening batsman technique as sompare to Gambhir, Cook, Amla at top order. No.3 is biggest worry. Some one who can steady the innings when the opener falls. I dont see any player in Pakistan team who can bat like Ponting, Tendulkar, Chanderpaul or Clarke. Middle order is aging in Pakistan with only Yousaf and on his day Younis can make an inning. Akmal is too young and does play rash short or two in proceedings. I think the only option Pakistan has is to play aggressive test match cricket and ride their luck and be good at aggression. otherwise everytime they look to defend and play sensibly they collapse. Waqar & Afridi are the best people to bring some aggression in the team.

  • aftab on March 5, 2010, 17:42 GMT

    Let me first say that Rameez Raja's article helped me change my views about Afridi (Give Afridi a break). It is amazing how ICC is getting more runs out of the batsmen at the cost of bowlers. Pakistan is lucky to have best crop of bowlers, but the situation is going to change if ICC's support doesn't come in time. So, I support Afridi as the skipper. The funny thing is that he is the only one from among the three newbees who doesn't have to prove his credntials. Waqar and Mohsin have to show that they represent themselves and not Butt (for once I agree with you Dr. Abbasi). I think Waqar has shown signs of maturity as bowling coach that he didn't show as cricketer. His very appointment could be because he can work with players on a better level than Inti who stood aside and let the team coach itself. Waqar comes from an era that the country is proud of. Mohsin - I don't know. Only Rina Rai comes to mind with his name. Let's hope he selects a beauty again.

  • Faisal on March 5, 2010, 17:48 GMT

    At this point, all i can say is good luck to Waqar and Mohsin. Its important that both develop an understanding and select players on merit. More importantly end the divisions in the team and bring back some pride in to the boys when playing for Pakistan. Also it is important that Waqar changes the old defensive approach of the team and bring some controlled aggression.

    Afridi must be given a chance to captain the team in all formats. And unlike Younis Khan, PCB has to fully support Afridi. If there is a division in the team after his appointment, those players need to be shown the door with immediate effect.

  • Sonia on March 5, 2010, 18:04 GMT

    Dear kamranbhai, Wondering,Where did you hibernate after the Shahid Afridi ball chomping incident, maybe lost your voice, eh? Good that you have picked up yourself and have started advocating Shahid Afridi to be the Captain of the Pakistan Team - Great Model to Emulate- Way to Go PCB

  • desihungama on March 5, 2010, 19:19 GMT

    Right the next move should be to remove Ijaz Butt and then incumbent chairman will come in and remove the newly appointed coaches, the selection team and so forth and the cycle goes again and again and again...and we are all fools.

    There is nothing wrong with PCB.

    What is reflected off players is simply how the nation is at this time.....down, lack of confidence, no respect for self and others and absolutely no leadership.

    Other counties are out there taking our clothes off when we travel. In these circumstances, how the heck do you even perform? We have simply lost confidence in our own abilities. Life has only a short cut.

  • oops on March 5, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    kamran sahib, you've nailed this one good. no younus khan, shoaib malik nonsense. you've said it like it is. that's the nature of the beast.

    you obviously love your cricket and cricket without pakistani flair and flamboyance is accountancy, and not the game many around the world love.

  • moon on March 5, 2010, 20:13 GMT

    THE DAY YOU APPOINT AFRIDI AS A FULL CAPTAIN, THE WORST WILL START FOR PAKISTAN AND ITS CRICKET.ITS BEEN A LONG LONG TIME NOW HE IS PLAYING TOP LEVEL CRICKET, BUT ALL PAKITANI NATION IS STILL WAITING FOR HIM TO BE MATURE AND GROW UP. WHO KNOWS HE WILL NOT DO THE THINGS SHAMEFUL FOR PAKISTAN.

  • khanna on March 5, 2010, 22:17 GMT

    while I agree with some of your views, cannot agree with afridi as captain. Afridi is instinctive and not thoughtful. Biting the ball is not just tampering but an act of frustration and desparation. In his mind, he had actually lost that game as a player and was resorting to cheap tactics. He may look aggressive and strong but mentally weak. He is a good 20_20 player till he could bowl decently, least hopes with his batting.