Karachi: Pakistan’s loss to India in their World Twenty20 opener has sparked massive criticism of skipper Mohammed Hafeez with former captains such as Javed Miandad and Mohammad Yousuf demanding that he be replaced by flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi.
“Hafeez needed to be more attacking with his bowlers and field placings once we were able to set them only a target of 130 runs,” Miandad said after the seven-wicket loss in Mirpur, Bangladesh last 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.
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.
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.