Malik should have replaced Afridi: Lawson

Karachi: Former Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson feels Shoaib Malik should have replaced Shahid Afridi as skipper of the national cricket team instead of Salman Butt.

PCB elevated vice captain Butt to captain’s post after Afridi announced his retirement from Test cricket.

A huge 150-run defeat against Australia in the first Test in England prompted Afridi to call it quits.

Malik did not play the first Test as the selectors preferred youngster Azhar Ali over him.

Malik was first appointed captain in April 2007 following Pakistan’s first-round exit in the 50-over World Cup and was later replaced by Younus Khan.

Lawson, who was sacked as coach by PCB before the completion of his two-year contract, reckoned time was ripe to hand captaincy to Malik.

“It might have been premature to name him captain then. But three years on, he’s certainly capable of being captain again. To me, he’s the obvious choice. He’s well respected by the younger players and the seniors that had problems with him aren’t in the team. In 2007, he was a reluctant captain. He was young and wanted to concentrate on his cricket.

“Now he is matured and given Pakistan’s penchant for changing captains regularly, I’d say you should give it to him and move forward,” Lawson told a local newspaper.

Malik led Pakistan in three Tests but was unable to win any of them. He won 24, including a record 12 consecutive wins, in 36 ODIs he captained.

Malik was also in charge of the team in the inaugural World Twenty20 where Pakistan agonisingly fell short of the target in the final against India.

“Malik did a good job as captain and at that time he was learning how to lead a side. He was taking the right steps in the right direction and if he’s named as Afridi’s successor, I don’t think it’ll be a step backwards by the PCB,” he said.

Lawson feared that Butt’s early elevation to top post may harm his career.

“Butt’s a good choice as vice-captain but he is years away from being a captain. I would have let him concentrate on his batting because he is probably the best batsman they have right now. He has captaincy potential but throwing him in at this stage will crucify him,” he said.



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