Pakistan v Australia 2010 July 18, 2010

Malik the 'obvious' choice for captain - Lawson

Cricinfo staff

Geoff Lawson, Pakistan's former coach, believes Salman Butt's appointment as captain of the Test side is premature and could do him more harm than good, and that Shoaib Malik should have been the "obvious choice" to replace Shahid Afridi, who retired from Tests after Pakistan's 150-run loss in the first Test at Lord's.

"Butt's a good choice as vice-captain but he's years away from being a captain," Lawson told The Express Tribune. "I would've let him concentrate on his batting because he's probably the best batsman they have right now. He has captaincy potential but throwing him in at this stage will crucify him."

Lawson took up the role of Pakistan's coach after Bob Woolmer's death at the 2007 World Cup and took the side to the finals of the inaugural World Twenty20 tournament, but was dismissed by the PCB a year and a half into his two-year contract after a string of poor performances.

Shoaib Malik was captain during Lawson's tenure but it was a troubled stint and he was replaced by Younis Khan after Pakistan conceded an ODI series to Sri Lanka with a massive 234-run thrashing in Lahore in January 2009.

"It might've been premature to name him captain then. But three years on, he's certainly capable of being captain again," said Lawson. "To me, he's the obvious choice. He's well respected by the younger players and the seniors that had problems with him aren't in the team.

Malik briefly regained the captaincy for two Twenty20 games against England in Dubai in February this year after Afridi, the regular captain, was banned for two matches after being found guilty of ball-tampering during an ODI in Australia. Less than a month later, Malik was banned for a year during one of the PCB's deepest culls of the senior cricket team in many years, during which seven of its top players were banned or fined after the side's shambolic, winless tour of Australia.

The ban was lifted on appeal two months later and he returned to the squad for the Asia Cup in June. Though Malik has denied an interest in the Pakistan captaincy, Lawson believes he has matured as a cricketer and his reappointment would be a progressive move by the PCB.

"In 2007, he was a reluctant captain. He was young and wanted to concentrate on his cricket. Now he's matured and given Pakistan's penchant for changing captains regularly, I'd say you should give it to him and move forward.

"Malik did a good job as captain and at that time he was learning how to lead a side. He was taking the right steps in the right direction and if he's named as Afridi's successor, I don't think it'll be a step backwards by the Pakistan Cricket Board."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Online on July 24, 2010, 6:19 GMT

    Malik shouldn't even be in the team as a player, let alone as a captain. His batting is mediocre and his bowling is disgraceful, so much so, that he doesn't even deserve to be called a batting allrounder!

  • Dummy4 on July 20, 2010, 14:06 GMT

    lol yeah sure think abt it it sounds reasonable sania got him unbanned otherwise why on earth wud he get unbanned b4 yusuf n yunis

  • Harris on July 20, 2010, 11:22 GMT

    "I am dreading that Malik will use Sania's name and just might gain captaincy again" How in the blue hell using Sania's name will get Malik his captaincy?

  • Imran Ahmed on July 20, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    Mr Lawson may have his reasons for ranking Malik as a captain again. But does he know that Malik was the first man in domestic cricket who admitted loosing a match deliberately so that one of the team (Lahore) should not qualify for Sami finals or may be it was planned in such a way that by confessing such an act the board will not allow Karachi that qualified for sami final and instead will ask Lahore to play the Semis. I agree in that case it was plotted and many others may have been involved in this act of confession. Does Mr. Lawson knows that he was the main person behind Younis Khan and Mohd Yousuf's failure, agreed and documented by tour officials and players for series against New- Zeland and Aus. Does Mr. Lawson know that even now he has a group in the team that wants him at the top and is working accordingly? For God sake we want some one who can free Pakistan cricket from all this rubbish and hopefully Sulman Butt can be the type of a person required at the Top.

  • Dummy4 on July 20, 2010, 3:56 GMT

    Yeah sure let's make the biggest malcontent in the Pakistani dressing room the captain again.

  • faisal on July 20, 2010, 2:58 GMT

    yeap they should make malik test captain he got exp too plus they should add Imran Nazir in all pakistani teams odi's t20's sp. they really need him in the team

  • Dummy4 on July 19, 2010, 19:02 GMT

    I think PCB and people like lawson will ruin Pak cricket sad state really being an Indian I wouldn't want that coz I am a sporting person. I am dreading that Malik will use Sania's name and just might gain captaincy again that will be a very sorry situation and the girl who mentioned Malik's persformance FYI his record is not worth even getting him a berth on the playing 11 plz get your facts right. He is not an extraordinary cricketer worse still he seems like a horrible lying conspiring human beingkudos guys i am proud of my brethern you guys are awesome atleast you people are not under political pressure and sania's influence I applaud your comments and views that you don't want the kniving Malik back For once we are united not divided but honestly guys last time when he was unbanned we voiced our anger but nothing happens his friendship with the top-notch politician's son is paving way for his place in Pak cricket team

  • Dummy4 on July 19, 2010, 19:01 GMT

    Hmmm i am thinking why Malik is even there. And Lawson wants him as the captain amazing, mockery simple mockery

  • Dummy4 on July 19, 2010, 16:23 GMT

    Malik the trouble maker is the 'obvious' choice? I didn't expect such childish remarks from Geoff Lawson. Secondly, Salman Butt is better than the ever irresponsible Afridi who is dumb enough to 'retire' mid series. He should have used some brain while batting. If I was PCB I would have cancelled Afridi's central contract and have him removed from captaincy from all levels.

  • Dummy4 on July 19, 2010, 16:02 GMT

    No thank you sir, but we'll pass. You might've not realized this in your stint with the team as coach, but Malik is the cause of all politics, making him the captain is diving into a river of poison. Not just that, but the fact that he doesn't even deserve to be in the test team makes the whole appointing him as captain entirely ridiculous.

    Butt might be young and not fully matured, but honestly one looking from the Pakistani team's future perspective could care less. We're not gonna win test matches as of now anyway, let the young captain handle the experience and learn the tricks of trade. While Afridi rightly leads Pakistan in the T20 and ODI formants, groom Salman Butt by making him the test captain so that he learns the art of captaincy, not gonna be pleasing in short term, but its something which turns out to be fruitful in longer terms, the major aspect at which top teams intending world championship consider.

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