Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Crunch Time for Pakistan Cricket

Shahid Afridi or Misbah-ul-Haq? Who will lead the side in upcoming mega event of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011? Still, Pakistan 15-member squad is without its skipper. Fans are supporting Afridi, while critics think Misbah is mature; they won’t forgive Afridi for giving ball to Saeed Ajmal in last over of semi-final of Twenty20 World Cup 2010 where Pakistan awarded Australia with a win inevitably in last over. Zaheer Abbas thinks that appointing captain should not be a big issue for Pakistan cricket board, showing satisfaction over Misbah’s captaincy.

Most of the players in the team were young and Misbah as a captain did remarkable job. He deserved a lot of credit for the way he handled his team besides himself performing as a player.

Shahid Afridi has played 307 ODIs scoring 6446 runs at an average of 23.78. He is spellbinder among the fans of Pakistan cricket due to his ‘combative’ mood against every bowler of World Cricket and sometimes in captaincy as well. After Younis Khan saying ‘B-Bye’ to Twenty20s, he was appointed as new skipper for T20s, and became ODI captain very soon in Asia Cup 2010. So far, Pakistan haven’t won One-Day series under Afridi’s captaincy neither the skipper has had played the remarkable innings so far, other than 124 against Bangladesh and 109 against Srilanka in Asia Cup 2010. But, It was all futile as far as Pakistan is concerned because It couldn’t help Pakistan to win Asia Cup.

Misbah-ul-Haq has shown maturity so far in ODIs, having played 59 ODIs scoring 1604 runs with an admissible average of 38.19. The main reason to support him as captain is his icy-cool character with ‘maturity’ in his decision; what Afridi lacks in. Misbah was appointed captain of the Test team after the eruption of spot-fixing controversy, when Salman Butt was sacked for being allegedly involved in the controversy. Misbah-ul-Haq led the controversy-hit team to a 0-0 draw against South Africa in UAE and 1-0 win against New Zealand down under. Not only, he led the team to a win, but also he performed by scoring 6 consecutive fifties in Test matches.

So, I recommend PCB, like Zaheer Abbas, to appoint captain who is “a performer and not an entertainer.” The on-going series between Pakistan vs New Zealand is not less than a scrutiny for Shahid Afridi. If he performs himself, he will get a role of skipper. If he doesn’t, he will enjoy the privileges of Misbah’s deputy. Best of Luck Lala!. I hope he will lead the team to 5-1 win down under.

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