Pakistan news July 10, 2011

Waqar wants to groom young captain

ESPNcricinfo staff

Waqar Younis, the Pakistan coach, has praised captain Misbah-ul-Haq for stabilising the national team, in his report to the PCB on Pakistan's tour of the West Indies. However, Waqar wrote that since Misbah was already 37 years old, Pakistan needed to start grooming a young captain for the 2015 World Cup.

"I have to give full credit to Misbah as he has stabilised the team and leads from the front," Waqar wrote in his report, excerpts of which have been published in Dawn. "His performance is also outstanding. He makes the boys feel comfortable and relaxed so they actually enjoy their cricket. He is mature and willing to listen.

"The only unfortunate thing is the age factor which is not in Misbah's favour. On that account, I don't think he will be able to lead the side in the next World Cup [2015], and therefore I would advise that we should start grooming a young captain from now."

In excerpts of the same report published earlier, Waqar had described Shahid Afridi, who captained Pakistan for limited-overs leg of the Caribbean tour, as immature and undisciplined. After his return from the West Indies, Afridi hinted at differences with Waqar, and team manager Intikhab Alam's report on the tour suggested a rift between the two. Afridi was removed as ODI captain and replaced by Misbah.

While Waqar's criticism of Afridi was severe, the rest of the report had a distinctly positive tone. He mentioned the growth of Mohammad Hafeez, who has backed up his impressive bowling performances with three half-centuries and a hundred in his last seven ODI innings. "Hafeez has been exceptional, both with the ball and the bat. He was timing the ball sweetly and worked with the game plan when bowling. He is now taking responsibility as a senior member of the team."

Also in line for praise were Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman, who Waqar said were developing into match-winners. Waqar backed the younger players as well, saying Asad Shafiq, Wahab Riaz, Umar Akmal and Azhar Ali were all improving. Mohammad Salman, he said, was a good wicketkeeper but needed to get rid of his nerves.

Waqar also noted that senior batsman Younis Khan, who missed the tour of the West Indies, was still an important part of the side. "It was quite unfortunate that he had to leave the squad on the West Indies tour and returned home due to his brother's death. He was missed on the tour because he is one of the key players in the batting line-up."