Captain Shahid Afridi: Out with the new and in with the old?

Published: September 17, 2014
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Afridi has been appointed T20 captain because he looks to be Pakistan’s best option but the problem with this is that it leave no place for grooming a future leader. PHOTO: FILE

Afridi has been appointed T20 captain because he looks to be Pakistan’s best option but the problem with this is that it leave no place for grooming a future leader. PHOTO: AFP/FILE Afridi has been appointed T20 captain because he looks to be Pakistan’s best option but the problem with this is that it leave no place for grooming a future leader. PHOTO: FILE

On September 16, 2014, the stars once again aligned themselves for 34-year-old Shahid Afridi who was appointed as Pakistan’s T20 captain. It is believed that he will retain this position until the T20 World Cup in 2016.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in true Pakistani fashion, has decided to adopt the ‘live for the moment’ mentality with absolutely no regard for the future of T20 cricket in the nation. What is the point of employing the same individuals in the same positions time and again and expecting different results? Was it a lack of better options that forced the board to make this decision and will it back-fire for the men in green?

Shahid Afridi has not led a side since 2011. Moreover, in the 19 T20 Internationals in which he captained the side, Pakistan won 8 and lost 11. Over the last year, Afridi has taken 10 wickets in 11 T20 internationals, and scored 173 runs. His form as a bowler has dipped considerably and unfortunately he will never attain any realm of maturity with the bat. He self implodes nine out of 10 occasions and gets going about once every other series and yet has the most loyal fan base a cricketer could hope for. There is no doubting his energy on the field or his commitment to the nation but every cricketer has their moment and Afridi’s time has passed.

When Mohammad Hafeez quit from his post as captain after the 2014 T20 world cup loss, it was like watching a tape on rewind. Every time the cricket team fails at a major world event, we do not look to groom and solidify a team for the future, we believe in putting bandages over bullet wounds to stop the bleeding. Hafeez, in my opinion, was better suited for the job. One man was not to blame for the performances of 11 other players. Pakistan never looked to rectify their mistakes and build for 2016, but to make radical changes because somehow that would fix the problem. It wasn’t the first time we had seen this and it definitely won’t be the last.

Shahid Afridi has been appointed T20 captain because, as it stands, he looks to be Pakistan’s best option but the problem with this is that it leaves no place for grooming a future leader. Many looked to Ahmed Shahzad as a potential captaincy option, believing that his religious preaching antics cost him the post.

In hindsight, Afridi has said and done several questionable things in his cricketing career, biting balls just being the tip of the iceberg. 2016 is two years away – that is two years the management could have used to build a team and groom a young captain. Are we simply afraid to let someone inexperienced take the reins? T20 is the shortest and most aggressive of all formats; is it really that detrimental to have a young, upcoming star attempt to take control? If not now, then when?

Pakistanis love going head to head with Indians in cricket. Here’s a thought, if the almighty MS Dhoni can attempt to groom Virat Kohli, why couldn’t the Pakistani board see potential in his twin (Ahmed Shahzad)? There is no doubt that he must learn professional etiquettes, that it will take time for him to grow but what is going to happen if we keep reverting back to the old? Once Hafeez, Afridi and Misbah all retire, in a span of a few years, Pakistani cricket will be leaderless and in shambles.

As it stands, the PCB has made its decision and one must accept that the glorified cheerleader is going to lead this nation in the shortest format of the game. With Waqar Younis back on the management side and their past history, one hopes that with time both have moved on. Only the 2016 World Cup will determine if the PCB’s decision has left the cricket team more sorry than safe.

Hadeel Obaid

Hadeel Obaid

A cricket lover and textile manufacturer, who is patriotic, loud and opinionated. She tweets as @hadouken51 (twitter.com/hadouken51)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Waqas

    Making some young
    player a captain would be very risky, defiantly we lose few matches in
    start and according to our culture people and media will criticize and that
    will demotivate him so in this situation Afridi is the best choice for captain.
    But they should also announce Sohaib Maqsood or Fawad Alam as his deputy.Recommend

  • bbw

    He plays best when he’s captainRecommend

  • Guest

    Making young player a captain is a bit risky, defiantly we will lose in start and our media and people will criticize him, he get demotivated and loose his confidence so in my view Afridi is the best choice. But they should also announce Shoaib Maqsood or Fawad Alam as his deputy.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Oh please, dont compare Shehzad and Kohli. The former has not been seen cursing the crowd and the latter doesnt preach on field. Old news, yeh, but they are nothing alike. And Ahmed cleaned-shaven does not even look similar.

    I do hope they give Shehzad the vice captaincy though. He would need some experience and be slowly moulded into a role like this. He is a well spoken and a hard working person- you can tell from his interviews and just watching him play. Yes, im a fan :)Recommend

  • نائلہ

    I agree, and a team under him always plays more aggressively; thats not necessarily a good thing thoughRecommend

  • mansoor

    lol and despite of that his record as a t20 captain is really bad (8 out of 19)!Recommend

  • sattar rind

    cricket is in great depression. i do not know what will afridi do in the field as a captan . but definitely he has lost chance to show good cricket.Recommend

  • faizan

    I dont know why this pakistan nation doesnt gives a chance to a new man weather its cricket or politics….i totally agree with the blogger how come u stick with the old person and expect different results….afridi’s time is really over now…need new faces in cricket as well.Recommend

  • Prashant

    ” Here’s a thought, if the almighty MS Dhoni can attempt to groom Virat Kohli, why couldn’t the Pakistani board see potential in his twin (Ahmed Shahzad)?”

    Let us assume Virat Kohli was found to be abusing Muslims on the field which is exactly what Shehzad’s comments for Dilshan meant to many of the non Muslims, all hell would have broken loose and leave alone captaincy, Kohli would have found it difficult to make it to the Indian team. The fact that Pakistanis somehow think a person like Shehzad is good enough to lead the Pakistani team speaks volumes of the countries acceptance of intolerance.

    How would the minorities of a nation see a man leading their nation who has no respect for their religion.

    ET, would you please post this comment.Recommend

  • Fkhan

    Miss Hadeel obaid! i cant believe youd hate on a player like Afridi. theres only one of his kind. he has received 32 MoM awards in ODIs. He has equalled Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis at No. 3 in the list of players to have won the most such awards in ODIs.
    9 five wicket hausl in ODIs’s and some record of scoring 50’s and having 5 fors in the same match too! there will never be another AFRIDI!!! LALA zindabad!Recommend