Captain alone cannot win matches, we need good players too!

By: Khurram Kaleem      Published: 08:20 PM, 25 Nov, 2020
Captain alone cannot win matches, we need good players too!
Captain alone cannot win matches, we need good players too!
Captain alone cannot win matches, we need good players too!
Captain alone cannot win matches, we need good players too!
Captain alone cannot win matches, we need good players too!
Captain alone cannot win matches, we need good players too!

Pakistan need a good team, not a captain. If we don’t have a good team then this crucifixion of captains would continue. Even Imran Khan couldn’t have won the World Cup without a good team. Pakistan were the co-favourites for the 1992 world cup. If the PCB is thinking that making a long term captain can change the destiny of Pakistan, this would be nothing more than a deception. 

Pakistan have a very poor domestic cricket structure, which is only producing batsmen like Fawad Alam, Khurram Manzoor, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ahmed Shahzad, Fakhar Zaman, Imamul Haq and Sami Aslam. How can we expect to win the battles against the cricketing giants like Australia, England, India and South Africa? If the team which played against England is given to Great Imran Khan with the desire to make a mark, the result would have been the same that had been provided under the captaincy of Azhar Ali. If you want to win then there must be bowlers like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Muhammad Asif. The team must have a batting strength of batsmen like Javed Miandad, Inzamam, Yousuf and Younis Khan. How can we expect to win the matches with the current pool of players?

If you look at the history of Pakistan Cricket, Mushtaq Muhammad was the captain in whose captaincy Pakistan emerged as a confident team. The reason was very obvious, he had the support of greats like Asif Iqbal, Majid Khan, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Waseem Bari and Sarfraz Nawaz in his team.

Then came Javed Miandad who was depending upon the skills of Imran Khan, Zaheer Abbas, Sarfraz Nawaz, Mudassar Nazar and Mohsin Khan. He was followed by the great Imran Khan, who built a real match-winning squad. He was fortunate enough to have players like Javed Miandad, Zaheer Abbas, Salim Malik, Abdul Qadir, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Mudassar Nazar. 

The team which participated in World Cup 1999 under the captaincy of Wasim Akram is considered to be the strongest team in the Pakistan cricket history. Former Captain Ramiz Raja commenting on the strength of that team said, “If there had been a match between 1992 World Cup winning team and 1999 World Squad, the 1999 team would have defeated 1992 team by 10 wickets. Waqar Younis and Inzamam ul Haq can also be considered as the successful captains of Pakistan cricket. Both captains were fortunate enough to have, Muhammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Misbah ul Haq, Shoaib Akhtar, Mushtaq Ahmed, Danish Kaneria, Muhammad Sami and Saqlain Mushtaq in their teams.

The most successful Test captain of Pakistan cricket, Misbah ul Haq was the first captain who played with a comparatively weaker side. In the batting, he had the support of great Younis Khan and middle-order batsmen Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq. But in the bowling, he had to rely just on Saeed Ajmald and latter on Yasir Shah. Only other bowler who completed the century of wickets in Test cricket is Muhammad Amir. Amir’s performance in Test cricket is considered a mediocre one. No other bowler had been able to complete the century of Test wickets in the last decade. Even then, Misbah ul Haq managed to get the maximum successes for the country in the Test cricket.

The crisis of Pakistan cricket started when Younis Khan and Misbah ul Haq retired from the international cricket after the Test series against the West Indies in 2017. Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq had to take the responsibility, but they were not able to fill the gap created by the departure of two greats of Pakistan cricket.

Sarfraz Ahmed was dropped from the team and captaincy in a very untoward manner. It was evident that Wasim Khan didn’t want him to see in the squad and a situation was created where he had to respond in the manner as he did. Now Babar Azam has been appointed as a captain with the hope that he would carry this responsibility for many years. Babar Azam is no doubt emerging as a great batsman with consistent performance. This enormous pressure of captaincy can even affect his individual performance. And even if he performs well, he alone cannot win matches for Pakistan. There must be a pool of quality players which could perform in modern cricket. On the other hand, our domestic cricket is on the decline and after the end of Departmental cricket, there is a minimal chance of revival. 

Prime Minister Imran Khan and the PCB are on the same page to empower the regional cricket, which is promoting favouritism in all the regions. Every selector is giving chance to the players who belong to his own club. At least in department cricket, there was some merit as they were paid according to their skills and experience. They also had job security due to these departments. Now a club player is much more confused about his future than he used to be. Almost all the senior players and former players have this opinion that any change in the first-class structure should have been gradual. Dropping all the departments from the first class cricket would definitely bring the cricket into a closed alley. 

Right now Pakistan cricket needs good cricketers and this is the responsibility of the Pakistan Cricket Board. But it is not fulfilling its responsibility and another captain has been prepared as a scapegoat for the future. May Allah help Babar Azam and Pakistan Cricket Team!