Pak captains “have a sword hanging above their heads”: Mujtaba

Islamabad: Noting the recent case of ex-skipper Shahid Afridi, former Pakistan cricketer Asif Mujtaba has said that it is “very difficult for the captain to perform well and lead the team when his own position is constantly in danger.”

Currently coaching in Dallas, Texas, Asif noted that former Pakistan captains “such as Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Salim Malik, and Inzamam have always led from the front. Their performances have always been top-class and that’s why players who played with them saw them as role models.”

“Today`s captains struggle to cement their own place in the team, so how can you expect the more junior players to view him as a role model?” A website quoted Asif, as questioning.

Indeed, this point is perfectly illustrated by the number of candidates the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has gone through since the retirement of Inzamam Ul Haq as captain. With six different captains in Test cricket alongside four in one-dayers during this period, it comes as little surprise that the national team has gone through an elongated patch of instability in recent times.

“The Pakistani cricket team is a reflection of the overall Pakistani society and mindset. People playing for Pakistan are not some special people that have landed from the sky. Shoaib Malik was made captain when he was performing very well as a player. Then he was removed due to various reasons and Younus Khan was made captain. Then he was replaced by Mohammad Yousuf. He suffered the same fate and now the same has happened to Afridi, said Asif, adding: “This is normal for Pakistan. How can you change five captains in one year? We have more captains in one year than there are seasons!”

With the recent sacking of Afridi as ODI captain and his subsequent retirement from international cricket, Pakistan faces another long-term leadership hurdle. “The Afridi example proves my point. How can you expect great performances from someone when they constantly have a sword hanging above their heads? How can someone lead the team when they have to worry about constantly saving their job? It’s very difficult for the captain to perform well and lead the team when his own position is constantly in danger,” said Asif.


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