Pakistan Cricket and the curious case of Shahid Afridi

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Pakistan Cricket and the curious case of Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi, Pakistan’s, or, for that matter the world’s hardest hitter of a cricket ball, is surely facing a dilemma in his life because of the uncertainty surrounding his captaincy.
The batsman, who perhaps wants to clobber every ball that comes his way, is no longer the golden boy of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), or, at least that is how things are looking as the 2011 Cricket World Cup approaches.
The batsman is currently the ODI skipper and has been on the post for almost over a year. But unfortunately under his captaincy Pakistan has failed to win any major ODI tournaments. With time his personal performance has also slumped and now the PCB is thinking
of replacing him.
Earlier, there were just rumours suggesting that the PCB was not happy with Afridi and was seeking to replace him ahead of next month’s World Cup. But it seems that these rumours are turning into reality with each passing day.
Yesterday when the PCB announced its 15-member World Cup squad, the selection committee chose not to name a captain for the squad, which was extremely irritating because announcing a team without a skipper defies logic.
However, according to insiders not naming Afridi as the skipper was meant to give a clear message to the flamboyant batsman to improve his performance and follow PCB rules and regulations.
“It is nothing but a way to give out a clear message to Afridi that he should not take captaincy for granted and remain in line with board policies”.
According to different media reports, the mighty chairman of the PCB, has not been pleased with Afridi because of his habit of giving straightforward statements to the media without consulting the Board.
In the past few months there haven’t been any statements by Afridi, which would suggest that he was violating policies of the Board, however, one is left in amazement to guess what was said by the poor batsman that left the PCB chairman so bitter.
On his return from New Zealand after leading the team in a three match T20 series, Afridi met with Butt and gave him a briefing on Pakistan’s 2-1 loss in the series.
It was reported that Afridi had expressed his desire to include veteran middle order batsman Mohammad Yousuf in the World Cup Squad. But on Tuesday, there was no Yousuf in the 15-member team, which showed that the Board was in no mood to even consider Afridi’s
Afridi’s position has further been weakened by an alleged report submitted by the team management and head coach Waqar Younis to the PCB, criticising the role of Shahid Afridi as a skipper and player in the national team.
After this report it is believed that the selection committee was instructed not to announce the name of the captain.
It is believed that some Board officials have been greatly impressed by the way
The team won the first Test at Hamilton against the Black Caps under the leadership of the 36-year old Misbah.
The rumour is that the PCB would be monitoring the result of the second Test, which is in its last day today, the visitors needing 193 runs to win with 7 wickets in hand.
After the Test series, Pakistan would be battling the Kiwis in a 6 match ODI series that would be led by as the skipper of the Pakistan team. The outcome of this ODI series will mostly likely determine whether Afridi would remain skipper or
The aggressive batsman, however, refused to worry about his captaincy and clarified that he would focus on improving his form rather than to worry about his future prospects as skipper of the team.
“I am taking no pressure over the captaincy. I am a senior pro and I know what I have to do. It is obvious that if we do well in the one-day series and I also perform as a player it will help me and the team a lot", Afridi reiterated.
Many former players including wicketkeeper, Moin, have cautioned the PCB not to remove the ODI skipper when the World Cup is just a month away. The players made their point by saying that the removal of the skipper
at this point in time would prove counter-productive.
A wise thing would be to retain Afridi as the skipper of the national team and hope that the team performs well in the World Cup.
PCB needs to realise that Misbah is no magician and just because he has led the team well in Test cricket does not mean that he would prevail in the 50-over format of the game.
In fact, it’s going to be extremely difficult for any new skipper to come and lead the team to a World Cup victory. There is no point of choosing sides, both Afridi and Misbah are an asset for Pakistan and both have a great cricketing mind but changing the
ODI leadership may disturb the rest of the players and may encourage politics within the national team.
Whatever is going to happen now is anybodys guess, the best the cricket fans can do is to hope for an astounding cricket extravaganza to take place and pray for the best team to lift the Cup.



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