Pakistan news May 21, 2011

Akram questions Misbah appointment

ESPNcricinfo staff

Wasim Akram, the former Pakistan captain, has questioned the PCB's decision to appoint 36-year-old Misbah-ul-as Haq as the limited-overs captain in place of Shahid Afridi, saying the move is "at best a stop-gap arrangement."

"The present Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq is on the wrong side of 30 and I don't see him leading the side beyond six to eight months", Akram told Mobile ESPN on Friday . Earlier this week the PCB decided to hand Misbah the reins for the two ODIs against Ireland at the end of the month, but chose not to offer a reason for the move. It is likely, however, that the decision came after the board decided they had had enough with Afridi's penchant for awkward public statements. The latest situation arose when Afridi returned from the Caribbean and hinted at unhappiness with coach Waqar Younis over matters of selection.

Out of 34 ODIs, Afridi had won 18 and lost 15; a stretch which included tough series against England and South Africa, and took Pakistan to the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup, and Akram believes those results mean it was wrong to sack Afridi over such "trivial matters".

"Arguments between captains and coaches are not new in Pakistan cricket," Akram said. "Afridi was hailed as a national hero after the World Cup, and came back from the West Indies after winning the ODI series only to find out he has been sacked. What is the PCB up to?

"It is a wrong step taken by PCB, and only [chairman] Ijaz Butt is to be blamed for this. In Pakistan, the coach wants all the power and when it doesn't happen, the fight begins."

Akram was not the only one critical of the board's decision. Abdul Qadir, former Pakistan legspinner, felt the board should not have been so quick to change captains. "Afridi should also be careful in giving media statements," he told PTI. "But the fact is changing the captaincy is a cricketing decision and this one is not a sagacious one. Dropping Afridi as captain and retaining him in the side to play under Misbah appears a bad move," he said.

And former chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed said the PCB was to blame and called for the government to intervene. "Players are the ones who bring in money for the board and attract people to the sport. Afridi didn't commit a crime if he spoke about problems he was facing as captain. Instead of listening to him the board sacked him as captain this is unjust and unfair and the government should take notice of this."