Seniors should support Hafeez, says Waqar


The Pakistan Cricket Board’s decision to appoint all rounder Mohammad Hafeez as the man to lead the team in the T20 format and his appointment as vice captain in the 50 over and Test formats has as expected generated a lot of debate amongst Pakistani cricket followers, writers and former players. Whilst some have questioned the decision to appoint Hafeez, an overwhelming majority have backed Hafeez’s appointment and labelled it as a step in the right direction for Pakistan cricket, reported Pakpassion.
Former Pakistan coach and legendary fast bowler Waqar Younis is one of the former players who has backed Hafeez’s appointment and applauded the Board’s decision to choose Hafeez over other candidates for the captaincy. Waqar also feels that to introduce Hafeez to international captaincy initially in the shortest version is a wise move by the PCB.
“Hafeez is an experienced cricketer and I think it’s a good move to give him the captaincy firstly in the shortest format. It would have been unwise to throw him into the deep end and give him the captaincy in the longer formats. He is a fine choice, the right choice and I wish him well and I hope that he will be successful” stated Waqar.
Pakistan cricket has over the years been embroiled with disputes over the thorny issue of captaincy and Hafeez was appointed for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka ahead of at least two other possible candidates. The issue of whether senior players in the squad will support Hafeez is one that could ultimately be pivotal in how the team performs in the coming months. Waqar feels that it’s crucial for those who had captaincy aspirations of their own to put them aside and instead give their full support to Mohammad Hafeez.
“I hope that Hafeez gets the support of all the players in the team and the squad, particularly the senior players. I sincerely hope that the guys who were thinking about becoming captain or hoping that they would be chosen as captain, stop thinking about the issue of captaincy and instead get behind Hafeez and support him for the sake of Pakistan cricket and the country. They should forget their captaincy aspirations and support Hafeez.”
“Hafeez has always provided good support to captains that he has played under and he deserves the support of his team mates. I think things will work out well for him, especially in the shorter versions” added Waqar.
Wahab Riaz’s omission from the Pakistan squad for the series in Sri Lanka in all three formats is one of several talking points regarding selection by a committee headed up by former Pakistan spinner Iqbal Qasim. Whilst Pakistan lifted the Asia Cup in Bangladesh, the tournament was a poor one for Wahab and his solitary appearance saw him bowl with inconsistency against India and he returned figures of four wicket-less overs for 50 runs. Waqar backed the selectors decision to drop Wahab for the tour of Sri Lanka and suggested that Wahab’s problems are down to his bowling action and at times his attitude. “When I was the coach, he (Wahab)struggled at times. His problems were down to his bowling action and also at times due to his attitude. I would always say to Wahab that in order to be successful he needed to work hard and maintain his focus, but he’s struggled of late and it looks like he’s not impressed the current coach and that’s why he’s now out of the side. This is all part of the learning curve for him. He is young and hopefully he can go back and work on his game and put things right for the future” stated Waqar.
The 31 year old Karachi pace bowler Mohammad Sami’s selection in all three squads against Sri Lanka was a surprise to many including Waqar. Sami has a Test bowling average of over 52 and Waqar feels that his inclusion was one of many surprises in the three squads announced for the tour of Sri Lanka.
“Sami’s inclusion was one of many surprises in my opinion. The selectors should not select players for international cricket based on good performances in club cricket like the Bangladesh Premier League. I would urge the selectors to move forward rather than backwards like they are with the selection of Sami and other tried and tested players who have not managed to perform at the highest level in the past.”
Waqar also had a strong message to the selectors with regards to a policy that he feels is in place to appease all of the regional administrations in Pakistan. According to Waqar that policy entails picking players who he feels are passed their best and are selected from the various regions to keep the regional administrations on side with the Board and selectors.
“I think the selectors have been very diplomatic in their approach to the selection of the squads for Sri Lanka. The likes of Yasir Arafat and Sohail Tanvir are surprises to me. When Yasir was bowling well he was not being selected, now suddenly out of the blue Yasir is selected for the Twenty20 squad. Both Yasir Arafat and Sohail Tanvir are passed their peak and yet have been selected this time around. Faisal Iqbal is another surprise inclusion, why not instead of Faisal pick a youngster rather than a veteran who has had many chances to perform. I see some players who I feel should not be included in the squad, but have been done so just to keep the various regional administrations happy. The selectors just seem to have obliged the regions, rather than picking the best group of players for each format” added Waqar.
Waqar who took 789 international wickets in an illustrious career that spanned nearly fourteen years also urged patience with regards to the philosophy of three teams for the varying formats and suggested to the selectors that if the policy of three different teams does not work straight away, then do not hastily scrap the idea. In addition he feels that the key to success for Pakistan cricket is stability and not to make rushed and not well thought out decisions in future.
“You have to make changes for each format, but this time around the selectors have made a lot of changes. The problems is that in the history of Pakistan cricket if something goes wrong they rush into making drastic changes and destroy the whole system. I would urge the selectors that if the policy of three separate teams does not work immediately then do not scrap the idea, stick with it and give it some time to work. Likewise the Board has chosen Hafeez as captain for the T20 side, give him some time, give him some breathing space and give him a chance to settle in the results will come. Don’t keep shuffling things around and making changes in playing personnel, in the selection committee, in coaches and in the Chairmanship.”
“There is so much cricketing talent in Pakistan, that despite all of the ups and downs in recent times and the controversies, the Pakistan cricket team is still playing some excellent cricket and improving” stated Waqar.
In astonishing statements made recently to the media, Pakistan all rounder Abdul Razzaq stated that former coaches Waqar Younis and Mohsin Khan were against him and were actively seeking his exit from the Pakistan team. Razzaq also felt that the former coaches did not use him properly and would send him too low down in the batting line-up. Responding to Razzaq’s outburst Waqar feels that Razzaq should not be moaning and should instead concentrate on why he isn’t in the team at the moment and also working on his cricket rather than making such statements in the media.
“I don’t think Razzaq should be whining like this. He should instead be thinking about why hasn’t he been selected now, when neither Mohsin Khan or I are the coach. This isn’t the first time he has been moaning like this, it’s a regular occurrence with Abdul. He wasn’t happy when Richard Pybus was the coach and it’s unfortunate that Razzaq is the sort of character who will constantly moan like this. I would urge him to look at himself, look at his own form, work hard and proving to the current coach and selectors that he deserves a recall, instead of looking for excuses and blaming others.”