LAHORE: Former chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ijaz Butt said on Monday that the national team’s 0-3 drubbing at the hands of South Africa in the three-Test series has posed serious questions about the captaincy since the performance of both Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez left a lot to be desired and indicated that their confidence level has gone down considerably which could harm the team spirit in days to come.
“I had criticised the PCB’s decision to appoint Hafeez as T20 captain because I had the same sort of fears in mind at the time,” said Ijaz while talking to Dawn.
“Just imagine if both Misbah and Hafeez are struggling like this and are in a certain frame of mind about each other, the captaincy issue can really get ugly,” he said.
“If you compare Misbah’s individual performance before Hafeez was named T20 captain, it was fantastic as he single-handedly saved and won many matches for Pakistan,” Ijaz observed.
“On the contrary, the tentative manner in which Misbah batted and led against South Africa showed that he has lost his confidence as batsman and skipper.”
“As for Hafeez, he has himself suffered as a batsman since his elevation as T20 skipper. Prior to that move, his record was extremely good but after elevation to the captain’s post, his game has rapidly gone down,” said Ijaz.
“Against South Africa in Tests, Hafeez looked like a mediocre player and his weaknesses were exposed, raising serious questions about his place in Tests and his ability to lead Pakistan in any format in the future.”
Ijaz recalled that with Misbah as captain and Mohsin Khan as head coach, the Pakistan team graph was rising as Pakistan had whitewashed top-ranked England besides defeating Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
“But since then, the incumbent hierarchy of the PCB has taken two major decisions — that of bringing in Dav Whatmore as head coach in place of Mohsin Khan despite the latter’s tremendous contribution, and of appointing Hafeez as T20 captain besides naming him as deputy of Misbah for the other two formats. And both the decisions have backfired quite badly,” noted Ijaz.
“To me the contribution of Whatmore and fielding coach Julian Fountain is nil because instead of lifting the team further, they have brought it down.”
Ijaz said the 3-0 whitewash in South Africa should see some heads roll in the PCB, but added that no one had the guts to accept the responsibility for the debacle and quit post.
Ijaz also pointed out that another main problem hurting Pakistan cricket was the inconsistency in testing out the new players and giving them a solid run before taking any decision on their future.
“This trend is causing big damage to our cricket and I think some senior players feel threatened by these youngsters and are not ready to encourage them,” he said.
He also admitted that there were many stakeholders in the selection of the team who supported their own blue-eyed players. “Yes, we have two captains, three selectors and some coaches and they all have their own blue-eyed boys and that is a disastrous situation,” said Ijaz without mincing any words.
He urged the PCB to hold all those accountable who were behind the team’s poor show in South Africa. “I am not worried about the defeat so much but the manner we caved in during all the three matches. All the Tests ended in either three or four days which is shameful,” he said.
To a question regarding the now postponed Pakistan Super League (PSL), Ijaz said no top player was ready to come to Pakistan for the league.
“It was a flop thing as the PCB has not adopted the right way to hold the PSL,” he said. “In my tenure we also started planning for holding it and we received an offer of US$50million from one party. The matches were to be held in Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and in Pakistan. That offer is still intact,” he disclosed.