Not naming the captain will only lead to issues: Waqar

Karachi: Pakistan`s coach Waqar Younis has become the latest to join the growing list of people to express his surprise over Pakistan Cricket Board`s decision to delay naming of the captain for the 2011 World Cup while announcing the 15-member squad.

"This is also surprising to me. I don`t know what reasons the board could have for delaying naming the captain but personally I feel it would have been better to announce the captain along with the World Cup team," Waqar said from Wellington.

The PCB yesterday announced the World Cup squad but held back the name of the captain, adding to speculations that Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq might be picked to lead the side in place of regular skipper Shahid Afridi.

Asked who he felt was a better choice to lead Pakistan in the World Cup, Waqar said he was not in a position to respond to this even as a layman.

"But whoever is the captain, his name should have been announced along with the team. Not announcing the captain will only lead to issues," Waqar said, adding that all other teams have announced their squads with their captains.

The former pacer, however, hailed Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq for leading the team to its first Test series win in four years time in New Zealand.

"I think he has done an outstanding job on and off the field as captain. He deserves a lot of credit for the way he has handled the team issues and players, besides for his own personal contribution as player."

Waqar said that after the Test series win, the forthcoming six-match one-day series against New Zealand would be a tough challenge.

"How we perform against New Zealand in the one-dayers will basically decide our tone for the World Cup. It will give a clear indication of how we are going to perform at the mega event."

The former bowling great said that he had always supported including young players in the T20 and one-day squads.

"I am happy that the selectors have included Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq and retained Umar Akmal. It is in Test cricket that you need loads of experience but in T20s and ODIs, I believe young players add freshness to the team," said Waqar.

He also pointed out that even India had adopted the policy of restricting top batsmen like Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman to the Test squad only while relying on youngsters in their T20 and ODI squads.

Pakistan manager Intikhab Alam also felt that the Test series win over New Zealand was the right tonic for the World Cup.

"It is a great win and the reason we didn`t go all out to win the Test match today was because we felt securing the series was far more important as we have not won a series since 2006," said the coach.

Intikhab, a former Test captain, also praised Misbah for his captaincy and batting, saying that he was leading the team by example.

"That is what you need from your captain, when he performs he sets the right tone for the other players as well.”

Intikhab also expressed satisfaction that the team on its last two series against South Africa and New Zealand had steered clear of controversies.

"This is a big plus for Pakistan cricket. The team needs to be recognised once again for its sheer cricketing prowess and achievements only," he said.