Lahore: Pakistan’s Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq will emerge as a strong candidate for captaincy in the forthcoming World Cup, if limited-overs captain Shahid Afridi fails to lead his team to victory in the ongoing ODI series against New Zealand, former Pakistan captain Aamir Sohail has said.
“If Afridi fails to handle pressure like a true leader against the Kiwis, Misbah will become a strong candidate for the World Cup captaincy,” a newspaper quoted Sohail, as saying.
“In fact, it will be a gamble for the PCB to retain Afridi as captain for the World Cup if he loses the ongoing ODI series against New Zealand. In that situation Afridi will not be in a positive frame of mind to do any miracle and will be under tremendous pressure to lead the in the mega event,” he added.
Aamir was of the view that Afridi needed to shape up really fast as a leader and performer since Misbah was breathing down his neck with some solid performances in the recent Test series.
“Unfortunately, Afridi failed to perform like a frontline leader during the year 2010. Though he batted and bowled with some responsibility at the last year’s World Twenty20 and Asia Cup, he could not maintain it in many other contests, raising doubts over his ability to lead the team astutely,” the former captain said.
“Winning and losing does not matter much; the most important thing is the body language of every player, particularly that of a captain. As skipper he [Afridi] even defamed the country by biting the ball during an ODI against Australia [in 2010],” he recalled.
On the other hand, Sohail emphasised, Misbah-ul-Haq had proved his mental toughness by successfully leading the national squad in Test matches against South Africa and New Zealand.
He also stressed that if the PCB had any apprehensions about groupings within the team after removing Afridi as limited-overs captain, it should take stern action against the players seeking a leader of their choice.
“All the team members should play for Pakistan, and not for a specific captain,” maintained Sohail, also a former chief selector.
With Afridi under pressure to perform in New Zealand and Misbah’s name being tipped for Pakistan’s captaincy for the World Cup, the PCB is likely to take a decision in this regard after the third ODI in Christchurch on Saturday, according to sources.