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January 24, 2011

World Cup 2011

Divide, rule, and destroy

Kamran Abbasi
Inzamam-ul-Haq says his final goodbyes, Pakistan v South Africa, 2nd Test, Lahore, 5th day, October 12, 2007
Inzamam-ul Haq was Pakistan's last all-powerful captain  © AFP
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Any tinge of happiness at Pakistan's Test series victory over New Zealand is rapidly vanishing courtesy of a farce orchestrated by the Pakistan Cricket Board. The national team's chances of winning the 2011 World Cup look wobbly enough without more self-inflicted damage.

Invariably, cricket boards know who their first choice captain is, especially so close to a major tournament. Often, the captain has some say in squad selection. While Pakistan's selection process has come to resemble a tin-pot dictatorship, the selection of a captain had not previously been in doubt - even if Shahid Afridi was to be snubbed at the last.

Now Afridi is no longer assured of the captaincy. He has either been too outspoken or too out of form to be named as he should have been. Only the PCB knows what it is playing at. Coach Waqar Younis' justified complaint about this strategy was met with a disciplinary charge. Benign dictatorships can be productive but malevolent ones are destructive.

Pakistan's last all-powerful captain, Inzamam-ul Haq, has now raised his voice against the cricket board's divide and rule policy. Indeed, this blog will record Inzi's words for posterity so that we can refer back to them in the dark days of the World Cup campaign:

"With only three weeks left to the World Cup, Pakistan have no captain and the blame goes to the PCB for creating an impasse which has divided the team into two groups, supporting Afridi and Misbah. In this scenario one cannot have high expectations for the team.

"The PCB has failed to control the situation and if Pakistan fares badly in the World Cup, people will accuse the players and not the board.

"When a team is without a captain how can a proper strategy be made? The team is playing a one-day series in New Zealand but they do not know who will be their captain in the World Cup which is very damaging."

The PCB has groomed a captain for this World Cup. His name is Shahid Afridi. He might have limitations, but, with senior colleagues around him, those can be overcome. The PCB needs to stop being precious about its own ego and start allowing Pakistan's World Cup campaign to take shape. The longer any doubt lingers over leadership, the harder it will be for the team to gather any momentum before this year's biggest tournament.

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

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Keywords: Administration, Captaincy

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Umair Muzaffar on (February 2, 2011, 18:01 GMT)

Earlier in the 2010 Shahid Afridi got to have a go at it ... but he has failed miserably by coming out of TEST retirement for one TEST and then retiring again ... leaving PCB to look for a replacement Captain in the middle of the series. This shows how shallow and non-Captainisque his mindset really is.

It is good that Misbah has been able to up the ante and has provided that formidable consistency to the middle order in all categories of cricket.

That said; it is clear that if Afridi is made Captain the he will need a support from Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar and above all Misbah to develop a strategy before the game and execute it during the game. Therefore, now with all mishandling of the situations, PCB has placed all it eggs in Misbah's basket (Captain or not). Misbah has to support Afridi, no matter what, to ensure that the team keeps the winning streak going.

We do not want too much friction between the two leaders in the team, otherwise all falls apart.

Posted by Imran Chandio on (February 1, 2011, 15:18 GMT)

Pakistan are playing great cricket at the moment, they done really well in the test series particularly Misbah kept us in the series with help from Younis, like the ODI against NZ today, who saved us today everyone oh yes it was Misbah and that goes out to all those cursing him, he is one batsman we have in the form of his life since coming back to the team, we need him to stay in this form for the world cup brilliant Misbah!!! Our teams strength is we have top 4 batsmen play risk free and conserve wickets and with 15 overs to go, we have U.Akmal, Afridi, Razzaq to blow the ball all over the ground, we will INSHALLAH do well in thw world cup

Posted by ASIF on (January 31, 2011, 16:49 GMT)

I don't know why pcb is so hesitant to make afridi the captain.What else they need from him.Mizbah and younis cannot even dream of batting like afridi.Mizbah is good for only test cricket and should take the example of laxman,dravid and cook by just playing tests.Why can't he be honest like afridi who opted out of test cricket eventhough his average of 37 @ a strike rate of 89 is not bad at all.The problem with mizbah is he cannot rotate strike which is an important aspect of one day cricket.Javed miandad was instrumental in pak world cup win with his singles and twos.How can ejaz butt think of making mizbah captain when his spot is not even guaranteed.As far afridi he is the most consistent bowler for pak and his batting is a bonus which is getting better as a captain with scores 108,122,37,19,9,34,37,0,1,49,8,29,24,15 and 65 @ a strike rate of above 100.The pcb instead of backing afridi r trying to ridicule him by delaying their decision in naming the captain for wc.

Posted by khankakar on (January 31, 2011, 11:01 GMT)

1 month left for the world cup/but till now captain name has not announced/ why i belive just khan shahid afridi (A REAL PATAN)of [pashtonistan )i want just shid afridi

Posted by Waqas on (January 31, 2011, 10:48 GMT)

Mr. Abbasi, i wonder how can writers like you have so much stamina to speak against the dreadful PCB; please give up hope now and live in peace

Posted by Ibtisam on (January 31, 2011, 9:09 GMT)

BOOm BOOM AFRIDI is the best

Posted by rao inam on (January 31, 2011, 8:54 GMT)

A.O.A ppl talking about pakistan's chances in wc . i think no one can bet on pakistan's ongroung performance . but chances of well played match can be enhanced. by keeping things simple. why we need a person in the team who plays not for his country but for his own position , i,m talking about misbah making 50 in 91 balls does this justify his position for a one day player (he is a choice for captain) why we need a player who cann,t batt against newzeland , i,m talking about younis khan (al time avg against newzeland 18 ) we should make things simple and give new faces a chance in the team as well as leadership over our plitical senerio.

Posted by Shakir on (January 30, 2011, 16:50 GMT)

1 month left for the WC 2011 but still captain name has not announced. I want to ask a question to PCB, Whether they want grouping or unity for WC. It simply divides the whole team, afridi group and Misbah group. Inzi already said about this. At this moment they need unity within the team. This is not the experimental time, just 20 days left for WC. I think Afridi should have been given full support from the behind, not to give him extra pressure at this moment. Despite of his key players he managed the team well in England and South Africa. Although his personal performance was not good last few matches. Still I believe he has all the talent and capability to lead the team for WC. I expect he will prove himself in this NZ series. All we need to give him support.

Posted by Zaeem Rizwan on (January 30, 2011, 16:38 GMT)

Afridi is best to lead the side for now as changing the captain after this series is not good, I think he is the man who can control the team, he just require support of seniors like misbah, younis etc.

Hafez Shehzad kamran(wk) Younis Umar Misbah Afridi Razzak Wahab Gul Saeed/Shoaib/A.Rahman (Select anyone according to the situation.)

Posted by ZEESHE on (January 30, 2011, 16:36 GMT)

I THINK AFRIDI IS THE BEST. HE HAS PROVED HIMSELF BY HITTING 65 ON JUST 25 BALLS

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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