December 29, 2010

it’s been a while since Pakistan have seen stable leadership on and off the field. If the team is waiting for a long-term skipper then the Board is also looking at an able chairman. The selectors have tested every senior player in the side before turning to Misbah-ul-Haq to lead the Test side. Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi and Salman Butt have all failed in their ability to hold the team together.

And I believe the Pakistan Cricket Board’s decision to appoint Misbah as captain against South Africa in UAE is only a stop-gap arrangement. I feel that they are looking at an 8 to 9-month period before they can find a good leader. My advice to Pakistan would be to appoint a deputy under Misbah who can take over the reigns in the future.

But one thing I know for sure is that Pakistan does not lack talent. The way they fought against South Africa in the recently concluded one-day series in UAE is a testimony to their fighting abilities. The Afridi-led unit lost to the Proteas 3-2 but a couple of matches went right down to the wire and Pakistan came out trumps.

The problem in Pakistan cricket is that nobody knows what’s happening and no one is willing to take responsibility. The Zulqarnain Haider-episode has once again exposed the mess in Pakistan cricket. The PCB is turning out to be weak unit and that’s the reason why ICC has started dictating terms.

And I don’t blame ICC for it. At some stage ICC has to intervene with a country’s Board if they are not carrying out their duties. So it’s high time that PCB get its act together and put Pakistan cricket back on the right track before the 2011 World Cup.

Meanwhile, the India-New Zealand Test at Motera was an exciting affair and once again India proved their might as the number one Test team in the world. True to expectations, the India’s ‘big’ boys came good against the Kiwis. Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman proved once again that age is no barrier.

Tendulkar is getting fitter by the day and I am not surprised when Ricky Ponting said that he looks to Tendulkar for inspiration. Pakistan should take a leaf out of India’s book and continue to back their seniors.

It was also nice to see the Indian lower-order performing well. Harbhajan Singh batted like a champion, getting good support from Pragyan Ojha. Now those are the signs of a top team. It brought memories of my days when Pakistan were at their peak and even the lower-order batsmen were willing to fight it out.

India are clear favourites to win the Test and the ODI series against the Kiwis, who showed tremendous resolve to challenge the world No.1 Test team. This will surely not be a one-sided affair as the Kiwis will like to prove a point after being surprised by Bangladesh at home.


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