Stop blaming Afridi for Pakistan’s dismal T20 performance!
As our Pakistani cricket team hits rock bottom, keeping in mind their recent T20 form, the amount of criticism hurled towards Shahid Afridi has been increasing. Before I elaborate on anything, let me make it clear, I am not a diehard Afridi fan and hence I am not here to defend his lack of consistency. Sure enough he has been making errors on and off the field and he could have definitely performed way better, but delusional Pakistani cricket fans must realise Afridi is a part of the problem and not the only problem.
Being a captain of a subcontinent team is anything but enjoyable. No matter how a team loses, the biggest chunk of criticism will have to be swallowed by the skipper. It’s just something that comes as part of the package. Just look at our neighbours, they still criticise MS Dhoni for losses, despite his phenomenal success as a captain for India.
A captain can set the right field, make the right bowling changes and even inspire his teammates to achieve higher success. However, a captain cannot carry the weight of 10 other players on his shoulders. There are certain things that are just beyond a captain’s control.
It is not Afridi’s job to help Khurram Manzoor stay on the pitch longer than the time he took to walk to it. I mean, it’s not as if Afridi selected him and is responsible for his actions. It is not Afridi’s job to run in for Anwar Ali and bowl one decent over without getting smacked all around the park. It is not Afridi’s job to teach the so-called ‘Professor’ how to run between wickets. Believe it or not, even diving from the other side of the field to help Mohammad Sami’s misfielding is not Afridi’s job.
I hate to break it down to Pakistani fans, but sacking Afridi will not change anything for the Pakistani cricket team.
The problem at hand is beyond Afridi.
There is a serious lack of talent.
There I said it.
There is a shortage of talent coming down the line. If Mohammad Aamir is excluded from the current team, Pakistan will even find it tough to win against associates. Let’s open our eyes; the problem is bigger and darker than mere captaincy issues.
Until we face this harsh reality, we will never be able to fix it.
Let’s focus our criticism on the system that has given up its responsibility to discover, manage and develop talent. Let’s criticise root level cricket that is slowly evaporating. Let’s focus our attention on the board that hires one bowling coach after another despite heavily paying Waqar Younis, the head coach, whose credibility is entirely built on his bowling performances in the past. One can only wonder what Azhar Mahmood will add to the bowling tips which Waqar Younis has failed to address.
Instead of embracing reality in order to fix it, we tend to find the easiest target to hit. Afridi is definitely the easiest one to target while the role of Waqar Younis and company remains unquestionable.
Till then, let’s keep changing captains and blaming him for our inept team and selectors.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.