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November 18, 2007
Pakistan play for pride in the dead rubber on Sunday but Shoaib Malik, the captain, has more points to prove than the others. Sunday's papers saw renewed criticism of his leadership by former Pakistani players but received support from his immediate predecessor
Javed Miandad: He is doing what he wants to do. The selection committee has given him a squad but he has not bothered to play the youngsters at all. The selectors gave him four specialist openers and yet he has opted to open with makeshift openers like Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi and now himself. Unless a player is assured of his place in the team with his performances how can he lead the team with confidence. Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf have been performing consistently and in my book one of them should be given the responsibility of the captaincy.
Inzamam-ul-Haq: I think the board took the correct decision by naming Malik as captain till end of 2008 and they need to support him. I know that our people can't stand defeat specially against India and if we lose the Test series than these board officials might try to save their positions by making Malik the sacrificial lamb.
Rashid Latif: Malik has not looked the part of a confident leader. His body language is bad. This has a bad effect on the other players. I can't understand some of their decisions. They took four openers to India and yet didn't try out Yasir Hameed and Imran Nazir. I also don't understand why they couldn't play Fawad Alam in place of Abdul Rehman as he is a better batsman and sharp fielder. The selectors need to be given a more decisive role in every matter so that the captain is answerable for his decisions. Unfortunately, even the coach has appeared to have no role to play in this series.
Aaqib Javed: There is bound to be criticism on him because a captain has to earn his place in the team first as a player. Even their [India] captain Dhoni has said our team lacked the positive attitude and spirit which was the hallmark of our teams that went to India in the past and won there. Look, when you are the captain either you bat low down or bowl regularly. Or bat higher up the order as a specialist batsman. Malik has been unsure of his own role in the team and his decision to open the innings should have come earlier. With our openers failing consistently I don't understand why he didn't decide to open earlier and set an example.
Wasim Akram: Malik is looking under pressure because he's not performing. He's making some wrong decisions. He's young, he's learning, but he has to learn quickly if he wants to win against India.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?