A right decision, finally

ISLAMABAD - After taking ages, the reasons best known to the PCB and its selection body, the PCB finally announced that Shahid Khan Afridi would lead Pakistan in the cricket's most coveted trophy - the World Cup. Although the selection body plays role of a dummy in almost all the decisions, yet every sports lover in Pakistan is fully aware that all affairs in the PCB are run by one man and that is its Chairman Ijaz Butt. All the nations who are taking part in this mega event, which is set to be played in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, (thanks to the powerful Indian lobby that deprived Pakistan of hosting World Cup matches on their soil for the so-called terror threat), have announced their captains well before the final countdown to this event, and the most surprising one is the name of Ricky Ponting, who has failed to perform both as captain and as player but was retained by the Australian Cricket Board. Despite having the most professional and disciplined history, the Australian Cricket Board has to compromise on sporting issues. The exclusion of Steve Waugh from the 2007 World Cup squad is one such examples of their professionalism but they reposed confidence in Ponting but Pakistan is totally different from the rest of the world and here personal decisions are imposed in every field of the game despite having full knowledge that such decisions not only destroy the cricket in the country but also bring bad name to the entire team. No one can judge the abilities of a captain from one series or some matches, it is true Afridi at times failed to deliver the goods but no one can deny the fact he is a complete all-rounder and if he fails with the bat, he will make up for this loss with his bowling, breath-taking fielding and above all leading the side with sheer commitment and complete devotion. Afridi is the most talented and arguably the best captain after Imran Khan who had complete authority on and of the field. Afridi has, once again, proved his critics wrong with his stylish batting when it was needed in the current Kiwi series and Pakistan managed to won the ODI series against them on their own soil after almost 17 long and hard years wait although the umpires have done all they can with their error-prone decisions to stop Pakistan from achieving this milestone. Muhammad Hafiz, who has been given so many opportunities and is perhaps the only individual who has enjoyed all-out backing of the PCB, is still struggling with his performance that is far from satisfactory. He was included in the team as a specialist opener not as a part time off break bowler. Kamran Akmal and even Umar Akmal are taking things for granted and their off-the-field behaviour is not acceptable. It was hoped that after being dropped from Pakistan team, Kamran Akmal will make a strong comeback in the side and will not repeat the past mistakes, but it seems he has not learnt anything. The way he dropped the catch of Nathan MaCcullam at a crucial stage of the fourth ODI and giving broad smile rather than being ashamed was by no way acceptable. No one is indispensable every body has to earn his place in the side rather taking things for granted. Ahmed Shahzad has fully justified his selection in the team. He has got the technique and aggressive style which is required in this form of play. He reminds the old glory days opening batting style of Saeed Anwar and Aamir Sohail who used to destroy the opponents bowling with their cracking strokes. It is bad luck for the fans and the team their key players Muhammad Aamir and Muhammad Asif are not with the team because of ICC's double standards. Had these two players' services were available the Pakistan bowling attack was completely different one and the opponents had to play really well to beat Pakistan. But even now, the bowling line-up is as strong with the likes of Gul, Wahab Riaz, Shoaib Akhtar, Abdul Razzaq and Shahih Afridi. The batsmen have to play with responsibility if Pakistan stands any chance of lifting the WC after 19 years and this team, under the dynamic leadership of Afridi, have the guts and hunger to bring the trophy to Pakistan. This will be wonderful treat for the country and fans who are fighting their hearts out against the terrorists to make the outside world a safe place.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt