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Rediff.com  » Cricket » World T20: Keen tussle on the cards for captaincy in Pakistan

World T20: Keen tussle on the cards for captaincy in Pakistan

March 22, 2014 13:48 IST

World T20: Keen tussle on the cards for captaincy in Pakistan

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Yet again Pakistan lost to their traditional rivals India in a World Cup match. The loss has not gone down well with their senior players and they have been demanding skipper Mohammed Hafeez’s head.

Pakistan's loss in the World Twenty20 opener has sparked massive criticism of Hafeez with former captains such as Javed Miandad and Mohammad Yousuf demanding that he be replaced by flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi.

Also, trouble seems to be brewing in the Pakistan cricket team with speculation rife of differences between skipper and the team management.

"Hafeez needed to be more attacking with his bowlers and field placing once we were able to set them only a target of 130 runs," Miandad said after the seven-wicket loss in Mirpur, Bangladesh on Friday night.

"The key to winning the match was to stop the runs if wickets were not falling so that the run rate increased and the Indians came under pressure. Unfortunately Hafeez failed to do that as captain. He should have used his bowlers more proactively," Miandad said.


Image: Mohammead Hafeez of Pakistan bent down to offer prayer
Photographs: Francois Nel/Getty Images

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Hafeez criticised

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Yousuf also criticised the body language of Hafeez who is said to be at loggerheads with coach Moin Khan and the other support staff.

"With better captaincy and the right pressure we could have made this total of 130 like 160 for India but this didn't happen," Yousuf added.

Both of them said they felt that Shahid Afridi was a better choice to lead the team in limited overs cricket.

"Afridi is more aggressive and proactive and the responsibility could also force him to raise his own game," Miandad said.

Yousuf pointed out Pakistan needed positive leadership in limited overs cricket and Afridi appeared a good choice as he brought energy to the team.


Image: Mohammad Hafeez
Photographs: BCCI

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'Do not put burden on Afridi'

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But Pakistan's former captain, Rameez Raja was not in agreement with Miandad and Yousuf.

"I don't think we should put any more burden on Afridi than he can bear. And I don't think his batting is up to the mark where he can also be given responsibility of the captaincy," he said.

Pakistan's former captain Basit Ali also felt that instead of getting into the captaincy debate, it was better if Hafeez was given confidence and allowed to focus on the World T20 Cup campaign.

Interestingly, speculation is rife that the present Pakistan team management of coach Moin Khan and cricket consultant Zaheer Abbas are also in favour of bringing back Afridi as captain of the one-day side as they are not satisfied with Hafeez's captaincy.

Afridi was Pakistan's ODI and T20 captain until May 2011.


Image: Shahid Afridi
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters

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'Team appeared under pressure from the start'

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Pakistan's former captain and most capped player Inzamam ul Haq said India were more proactive from the beginning.

"Their body language was better than ours and I just felt we batted very poorly without any plan. The pitch was not easy to bat on the second time as it got sluggish and if the Pakistani batsmen had applied themselves a bit more and scored 25 to 30 runs more they could have won the match," he said.

"Our team appeared under pressure from the start and the run out of Kamran Akmal just increased this pressure. The Indians after the return of Dhoni appeared more calm and confident and this showed in the fact that they never allowed the Pakistani batsmen to forge a big partnership."


Image: Pakistan's captain Mohammad Hafeez, left, tries to take a run as India's captain and wicketkeeper MS Dhoni throws a ball
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters

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'India batsmen are technically sound'

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Pakistan's former batsman Muhammad Yousuf also rued the team's insipid batting.

"When you compare the two sides you can see a visible difference that India have batsmen who are technically more sound while presently I don't see a single player in our team who is technically correct or sound. Our batting was disappointing and a total of 130 runs was never going to challenge India with their batting depth," Yousuf said.

Similar opinions were shared by some other former players including former captain Rashid Latif, Mohsin Khan, Abdul Qadir and Aamir Sohail.

"We need to see where we are going wrong. India appeared to be better organized and their bowling was disciplined. They took a gamble with Amit Mishra and he delivered with a crucial spell," Latif said.


Image: Virat Kohli, right, and Suresh Raina celebrate India's victory against Pakistan
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters

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