Surprised former skippers question Afridi’s decision
Karachi: Surprised with Shahid Afridi’s decision to quit Test cricket after the second match against Australia, former Pakistan captains today questioned the move saying it has come at a “wrong time”.
Former captain Moin Khan said Afridi should have decided before going on the tour whether Test cricket was suited to his temperament.
“I don’t understand what he has done. If he was not prepared for Test cricket then he should have thought about this before accepting the captaincy,” Moin told reporters.
“His decision has come at a wrong time for Pakistan cricket and will complicate issues in the team,” Moin added.
Another former captain Zaheer Abbas, however, didn’t rule out the possibility of politics or team issues.
“I don’t know what is going on behind the doors but you get a definite feeling that they are still problems within the team in England this led to this sudden decision by Afridi to announce his retirement,” Zaheer said.
“It makes no sense that Afridi should decide now he is not ready to play Test matches. He is himself totally confused as to what he wants do. To make him the Test captain was a wrong decision,” he added.
The crisis developed after Afridi decided to retire from Test cricket immediately after his team suffered a humiliating 150-run defeat at the hand of Australia in the first Test at Lord’s.
Reports from England have indicated that the PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt and his close friend and the team manager Yawar Saeed have been calling the shots which left the senior players unhappy.
Zaheer said if the Board didn’t start taking good decisions the team would continue to struggle badly in international cricket.
Former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said that it was the PCB’s fault that it appointed Afridi as Test captain in the first place.
“How could they appoint someone who himself had avoided playing Test matches and not played a Test since 2006. It was a wrong decision and it has backfired badly now,” he said.
Inzamam, Who is Pakistan’s most capped player, said that he didn’t support the way Afridi decided to retire.
“Playing two leg spinners in the first Test on a seaming track at Lord’s was one of the issues that came out of appointing Afridi as captain,” he said.
Inzamam, however, felt that all was not lost and the Board should discuss the situation with senior players and in the first move call back Younus Khan and Muhammad Yousuf to the team in England.
“The team needs these two players and the decision to drop them in the first place was not correct. They must be brought back, I don’t know how much practice Yousuf has been doing but he is an experienced and proven performer and he can deliver in difficult conditions,” he said.
Former captain Rashid Latif didn’t agree with Afridi’s assumption that he was not cut out for Test matches.
“I think, he has taken a hasty decision. He can play Test cricket because he is a far improved and mature player now.”
Latif said that PCB would take another wrong decision if it decides to appoint Salman Butt as captain.
“I say this because right now he is your inform player and making him captain would put added pressure on him that could affect his batting. I don’t think he is ready for the captaincy as yet,” Latif said.
The former wicketkeeper-batsman also suggested that the Board should recall Muhammad Yousuf out of retirement as he was the best choice to captain the Test side in England.