Clearly not convinced by Shoaib Malik's leadership abilities, former captain Wasim Akram feels the present Pakistan skipper is weak and has failed to back his players.
Akram was particularly irked by Malik's comments during the Asia Cup that he was only playing with the XI which the selectors had handed over to him. Akram said selection in Pakistan is always a politicised affair but Malik needed to put his foot down if he had some other ideas.
"Fourteen boys went to the Kitply Cup; they won the tournament, but two have been dropped. They didn't even play and are dropped. What they must be going through, I can only imagine. That's where Shoaib Malik has to be strong," Akram told Cricinfo.
"As a leader and as a player he has to be positive. In the beginning I thought he had the skills; now I have my doubts. Against Zimbabwe he bowled ten overs in almost every match, against Bangladesh he bowled a little less. But in big matches he is not bowling. Do you think nobody notices? People do. Most of all, players notice how the leader is doing," Akram said.
According to him, man management is the key for any captain and Akram recalled his days to make his point.
"I had Aamir Sohail, Waqar Younis, Javed Miandad, Rameez Raja, Saleem Malik, Ijaz Ahmed - they were all different characters, they were all difficult, but they were all match-winners. I learned to listen to them and back them up when they were not doing well. I knew as a captain that when they came back to form they would win me a match.
"Shoaib Malik has to learn that. (Abdur) Rauf gets three wickets in one match, but doesn't get to play in the next. This is the captain's fault, not the selectors'. Now he says the XI is given by selectors, but I know that in Pakistan if you are a strong captain there is no way the selectors can do that to you. We have all been through this: me, Inzamam, Imran (Khan), Miandad, we all did that but we always had our XIs.
Maybe in the 14-15 you can have a compromise..." Akram said.
Not surprisingly, Akram said Imran Khan was the best captain Pakistan ever had.
"Imran was the best ever. He led from the front, with the bat, with the ball. Under pressure he went in at No. 3 in the 1992 World Cup. No other captain from India or Pakistan could ever have done it. I couldn't have done such a brave thing, because I'd think: what if I failed? He was never scared."
Imran was so dominant that even coaches did not interfere with him, Akram said.
"Imran Khan was there, what can a coach do? Is a coach mad to be speaking in front of Imran?" he said.