PCB divided over retaining Afridi as Pak captain for World Cup

Monday, January 17, 2011

KARACHI - The captaincy issue has once again come back to haunt the Pakistan cricket team, with some players and officials raising questions over the ‘behaviour and attitude’ of current limited-overs skipper Shahid Afridi.

According to well-placed sources aware of the developments in Pakistan cricket, there were different reasons for Afridi losing favour with the establishment, one of them being “growing complaints from fellow players and team and board officials that he is too friendly with the media.”

“The second complaint is that he is too over bearing and is making some players uncomfortable and unhappy with his attitude. Plus the crucial issue of his own performances have also come under the scanner,” the Daily Times quoted a source, as saying.

The source revealed that Afridi had retained the captaincy for the one-day series in New Zealand just by a whisker.

“They were serious deliberations within the board on retaining him as captain after getting some negative reports about his behaviour and attitude after the T20 series in New Zealand,” said the source.

The PCB, however, named Afridi as captain for the six-match ODI series in New Zealand last week.

“This is because Ijaz is still uncertain about what to do,” said the source, adding that the selectors were keen to also name the World Cup squad, but it was put off because of the captaincy issue.

“There is a possibility now that the board might announce the World Cup squad on January 19, but wait until the series is over in New Zealand before announcing the captain for the World Cup,” he added.

According to the source, one reason why Butt was reluctant to change Afridi at this stage was because of the short time left for the World Cup, which starts on February 19.

“There is a concern that if the move backfires and if the team flops in the tournament the blame will come on the board that it made a big mistake changing the captain so late,” the source revealed.

Some former cricket greats are backing Pakistan’s Test captain Misbahul Haq to lead the country in next month’s World Cup, which is to be jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“Right now there is a 50-50 split within the board and in the team management on whether Afridi should be allowed to captain the team in the World Cup, or this responsibility should pass to Misbahul Haq,” the source said.

“But there is a strong lobby in the board and in the selection committee that believes if Misbah is able to guide the team to its first Test series win in four years time, he becomes a certain choice to lead the team in the World Cup as well because he is in form and also because of his mature approach and better communication skills with the players,” said the source. (ANI)

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