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Misbah sees Azhar, Umar Akmal as future captains

Umar Farooq

June 4, 2014

Comments: 45 | Text size: A | A

Misbah-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali have a chat during practice, Colombo, June 12, 2012
Misbah-ul Haq: "There are lots of players who could be given the captaincy... like Azhar Ali and Umar Akmal." © AFP
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Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, has urged the PCB to start grooming youngsters as future leaders. Misbah, who turned 40 in May, said that players such as Azhar Ali and Umar Akmal could take over from him eventually.

"It is important for the board to decide who they want as captain. They should start grooming and giving them the confidence," Misbah said on the sidelines of the ongoing summer camp at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. "To me there are lots of players who could be given the captaincy... like Azhar Ali and Umar Akmal. Both are doing captaincy (in domestic cricket) and I think when they get some experience you can safely hand them the responsibility."

Pakistan suffered a mini-captaincy crisis after Shahid Afridi abruptly quit Test cricket in 2010 in the middle of the England tour and his replacement Salman Butt, who was marked as a long-term prospect, was banned after the spot-fixing scandal. Misbah took over the captaincy then and has since been leading the side in Tests and ODIs.

Mohammad Hafeez was given the T20 captaincy in May 2012 after Misbah decided to step down. Hafeez was also vice-captain to Misbah in Tests and ODIs for the last two years but after Pakistan's poor performance in the World T20 in Bangladesh earlier this year he quit from all posts.

Despite his age Misbah is still one of the fittest and most prolific players to lead Pakistan. However, with the 2015 World Cup ahead and Misbah in the twilight years of his career, Pakistan still haven't marked a potential captain with assertive leadership qualities.

"I don't think there is any problem as we have players who can take over the responsibility," said Misbah, ruling out any stumbling in the post-Misbah era. "All the youngsters understand the game and are doing the hard work and performing but you will take some time, one-two years. Both [Akmal and Azhar] have cricketing sense and that's what you need in the future."

When asked if he was facing any risk to his captaincy ahead of the World Cup as Shahid Afridi has said he is open to the job, Misbah said he did not think about matters not in his control. "I have always said that captaincy is not in your hand, it's in the hand of the cricket board," he said. "For me the important thing is to stay fit and give my best performance. My focus is on this, that how I have to perform according to my best ability and that's what I am trying. Rests of the things are not in your control and I don't even think about it."

The ongoing month-long camp will end on Thursday after extensive physical training and skill development. Misbah said the camp would be beneficial in the long run. "You might not get an immediate result. However, each player knows it has enhanced endurance. Your base is on your fitness in any sport and when you are fit you have better performance in all the three departments. Especially in such heat when you push yourself you increase your endurance, your strength is improved and you get improved in all the departments.

"The biggest motivation is your passion about this game. If you don't have passion then you just spend time and you don't enjoy. When you have passion you compete with others and you try to be the best. Not only me the youngsters have very good fitness and all the senior players have worked hard and tried to push themselves. In future if we continue to push, our fielding level will increase automatically. In batting and bowling when your fitness is good it automatically improves too."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by android_user on (July 29, 2014, 3:31 GMT)

Ahmed Shehzad has no potential to be captain. The guy has disciplinary issues and attitude problems. Can't be having that in someone who'll be leading the side. I agree with Misbah partially, Azhar Ali knows what he's doing. He focuses more on test cricket rather than the limited others formats, which is essential. And Umar Akmal needs his time before he can be handed the huge responsibility.

Posted by   on (June 7, 2014, 12:18 GMT)

Umar Akmal as a potential captain? What a joke, the only proper captain in the team at the moment is Younis.

Posted by   on (June 7, 2014, 7:57 GMT)

May be they should groom Ahmed Shehzad as captain for all three formats.

Posted by   on (June 7, 2014, 6:24 GMT)

Azhar Ali can be the right choice both in ODI and Test. Those who saying Azhar has less strokes in ODI have no cricket sense... He is really talented should be handed over captaincy... Else groom Ahmad Shahzad else groom Nasir Jamshed else groom Sami Aslam

Posted by sami01 on (June 7, 2014, 2:54 GMT)

These two are not even captaining any side in domestic level then how is it possible that these two will be good captain?Umer akmal doesn't even know how to bat in different situations..azhar ali is good in test only..

Posted by   on (June 6, 2014, 21:31 GMT)

I am surprised at Umar Akmal's name.... he cant handle the pressure not a captaincy material if he becomes the captain Pakistani team will even loose from UAE too... Azhar might be the right choice but he doesn't have too many strokes to play ODI cricket

Posted by android_user on (June 6, 2014, 8:43 GMT)

i think umer akmal should be captain for odis and t20s and for test fawad alam should be captain both of them are very talented and agressive players i think misbah is ryt because he knows them he played with them in the fielsd and i dnt think any of us can judge anyone better then calm king misbah.

Posted by Saadcricketlover on (June 6, 2014, 0:19 GMT)

What about Fawad Alam. He has the potential and has shown that he is a controled and a smart batsman better than misbah. He can also bowl part time. He should be made the ODI captain. For test matches Younis khan is the best choice he is an experienced player. Umar Akmal or Abdul Razzaq could the t20 team. But there is no hope for Razzaq because PCB has treated him very unfairly.

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (June 5, 2014, 23:12 GMT)

i am surprised with misbah statement. i completely disagree with him. Hafeez should have been kept for captaincy in limited over cricket and they should have tried to groom Ahmad Shahazad along with him. as much as i like Umar Akmal as a player i would hate him seeing a captain as he is not that material at all. I think its a ideal time to give a chance to shahazad in t20's. My team for world cup would be: (1) Ahmad Shahzad (2) Nasir Jamshed (3) Hafeez (4) Misbah (5) Sohaib Maqsood/fawad alam (6) Umar Akmal (7) Afridi (8) Anwar Al/gul (9) Ajmal (10) junaid (11) Irfan

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 19:10 GMT)

Azhar Ali will bw an automatic choice after Misbah's retirement from Tests. He might be Good for ODIs aswell.Meanwhile Ahmad Shahzad, Umar Akmal & Umar Amin should be given the captaincy of thier respective Domestic teams so they can be Groomed on field as well...

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