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Pakistan Cricket: Move from Insipidity to Unpredictability

By Himanshu Shekhar | Last Updated: Monday, February 9, 2009 - 22:50
Himanshu Shekhar
The Compulsive Pilgrim

To say that Pakistan cricket is in turmoil would be an understatement. But anybody who understands cricket and its terminology would agree that Younis Khan’s appointment as the captain is the decision which waited, waited and waited to an extent that Pakistan has lost its tag of being ‘Unpredictable’.

Consistency was never Pakistan’s forte even as their strength lie in producing talented cricketers, who were as good as anyone in the world. Be it Hanif Mohammad, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram or for that matter – the legendary captain Imran Khan.

When Shoaib Malik was asked to lead Pakistan, many thought that it’s the safest option the troubled nation had. It seemed the ever changing dynamics in Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) required someone, who was willing to be a mute spectator, who would watch the proceedings from sidelines and toe the official line rather than leading a team into the field.

Malik’s ascendancy to the top job was thus something which he bagged by default, after Younis Khan rejected the offer twice, throwing Pakistan cricket into a state of insipidity.

Two years down the line he (Younis Khan) is back as the captain, ready to step into the shoes which were once occupied by Imran Khan – at least cricket lovers in Pakistan would hope so.

Malik’s laid back attitude towards events and proceedings on and off the field ensured that team members had lesser faith in their leader.

In that respect, Younis Khan has a challenge ahead and it would be expected of him to restores Pakistan’s legacy - which undoubtedly is that of being one of the most feared teams in world.

There will be many, be it in team, PCB or media, who will oppose his each move, stall his thoughts, question his intent and hinder his course of action. Hence a lot will depend on the character and grit of the new leader and on how he copes with it all.

But with him, Younis brings a fresh air of arrogance which Pakistan cricket missed in two years of Malik’s captaincy. It is an attitude which never accepted defeat, which always went for the kill and embraced confrontation on and off the field.

With 58 Tests, 181 ODIs and 15 T20 games under his belt, Khan is no novice in international cricket and has seen ups and downs. Be it Bob Woolmer’s death or loss of his two brothers, Pakistan’s new captain has seen it all and those who know him from close quarters pretty well, understand that he won’t be a pushover- just like a true Pathan.

As a true leader, the new captain has to win the trust of his team-mates and only then he would think of taking on the rogue elements in PCB, who worry more about their politico-military bosses, rather than cricket.

Pakistan, at this moment, seems to be moving from insipidity to capriciousness and one sincerely hopes that they have made the right choice.

Will it be another case of trial and failure? No one at this moment has that answer, but world cricket would be a loser if the sagging fortune of cricket in Pakistan is not restored – as it produces world’s best, raw, unmethodical and exciting talents, who bring cheer to those who eat, sleep and drink cricket.

First Published: Monday, February 9, 2009 - 22:50

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