Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pakistan need both Afridi and Younis to work Together

There is no better man than Shahid Afridi to lead Pakistan at the World Cup next year in February.

Afridi may not have the clam of a Mohammad Yousuf, or the honest command of a Younis Khan, but he has something that neither of these men do.

Afridi has the ability to unite a team, have people rally around him, and lift spirits even at the worse of times.

He may not do it by leading from the front with the bat or the ball, but the way he lifts the team on the field, no one can.

Even when he was not captain, his impact on the team was visible. Constantly encouraging the fielders and bowlers, setting high standards while fielding, and just being out there in support is what makes Shahid Afridi such a central character in Pakistan cricket.

He's got the difficult task of uniting several senior players who have not got along in the past, and set an example for the youth that has just started taking their first steps in international cricket.

And there is no better man to do this for Pakistan than Shahid Afridi.

Afridi's openness and honesty is what is needed right now. He was the first one to say that he doesn't have the temperament for test cricket - how many players have you come across who would put their hands up and say they are not good enough for test cricket?

Not many.

Considering that he recognizes and accepts his own flaws, he can pass on the same message to his team and they will listen. They will listen to him more than anyone else.

When I first read about Younis Khan's return, I was pleased. Extremely pleased. But I also feared that it may trigger a new clash for captaincy between YK and Afridi. After all, Younis is returning to a team that ousted him as captain. Yes he played under Yousuf in Australia, but he has not played under Afridi before.

And which Pakistani cricketer does not want the honour of leading their country in a World Cup?

Every Pakistani wants to emulate Imran Khan.

Wasim Akram tried his best to get back to the helm of the team prior to the 2003 World Cup and it backfired disastrously.

Both, YK and Afridi, have openly stated their ambitions of leading Pakistan to World Cup glory in the past. YK was there when he led the team to the World T20 title and Afridi had a major role to play in that.

Will roles reverse at the World Cup in 4 months time?

YK was originally slated to be captain for the tournament before his falling out with the team and then the board.

His return, however, changes the dynamics immensely.

YK's statement that he is only interested in playing for the country and not in the captaincy is a blessing, but then we all know that in Pakistan what you say is not what you get.

For Pakistan to even have a remote chance at success, they need both Afridi and YK. Afridi leading the team, and YK as the key batsman guiding the inexperienced batting order, along with a hopefully fit again Yousuf.

We simply cannot afford any more clashes.

The next 2 series against South Africa and New Zealand will be crucial in building this new relationship between Afridi and YK and I'm glad that Intikhab Alam is there to help ease them into these new roles.

Its not going to be easy for either of them, but lets hope that for the sake of Pakistan cricket, we can have a drama free 4 months leading up to the World Cup in February.

Make your pitch on this post...

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2 Pitched:

  1. Golandaaz said...

    Pakistan's issues with captaincy are only a by-product of many things that are wrong with Pakistan cricket. Governance, Selection, Management, the captain and the team.

    Afridi the best man to lead Pakistan. Couldn't disagree more. A leader has to command respect not only amongst his team mates but also in his opponents. I doubt Afridi scores on either front.

    And what good is fixing the captaincy when the captain knows, he will be given a team, that players who fall for corruption will be shielded by the board

  2. Shary said...

    200% agree, but PCB is the big question mark for Pakistan Cricket.

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