Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi feels fellow veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik should have been chosen to lead the side in the T20I format till next year’s 20-over World Cup in Australia.
Pakistan removed skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was leading the side in all three formats, from the helm of the Test and T20I teams. The 25-year-old Babar Azam was named as his replacement in the 20-over format while Azhar Ali will lead the Test side.
“I have supported Babar Azam a lot,” Afridi said in a video on his YouTube channel. “He is a consistent performer for Pakistan but Shoaib Malik would have been the sensible choice to lead Pakistan in next year’s tournament given that he has been playing cricket for quite some time around the world and is representing the national side at the moment as well.”
Afridi said that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) made the right decision to appoint batsman Azhar Ali as the Test captain.
He also thanked Sarfaraz for his services to Pakistan cricket and urged the wicketkeeper-batsman to not get disheartened by his axing. “It’s not necessary that you play for Pakistan as a captain throughout your career,” he said. “You can play as a player and you are at an age where you can take your career forward and make a comeback in the national side by working hard in domestic cricket.”
‘Sarfaraz only has himself to blame’
On the other hand, former fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar has said that Sarfaraz Ahmed has only himself to blame.
“He worked his way into the team when he made his place into the side in 2014-15 but he stopped doing that after the Champions Trophy 2017,” Akhtar said on YouTube . “For the past couple of years, we have needed a skipper with an aggressive approach to the game.”
The Rawalpindi Express said that Sarfaraz was unable to take his own decisions and was under the influence of ex-coach Mickey Arthur, who he dubbed as a ‘timid’ coach.
“We advised him to take decisions on his own repeatedly and improve his performance.” He went on to say that he cannot improve unless he makes changes to his batting position.