Dear Shahid bhai,
You have got to be kidding me.
Let me see if I have this right and feel free to correct me: After years of pining to be Pakistan’s undisputed captain you are finally given the mantle amidst intense player and administration controversy only to abdicate its most important component due to a single Test loss and your angst-ridden self-confidence issues.
Shahid, I just glanced through the Pashtunwali and, while it was only a cursory inspection, I’m sorry but I couldn’t find the section in this code where your ancestors prescribed that cowardice and insecurity is the way to deal with adversity. I guess that’s only in your edition, huh?
It’s quite staggering how selfish your decision is Shahid, particularly for a guy who displayed all the right sentiments for returning to Test match cricket and assuming leadership of the squad. You acknowledged that the country needed you to restore order to a troubled and rudderless team and you considered it your duty to answer that call.
What’s changed since those last few months Shahid? Did you suddenly discover you weren’t suited for Test match cricket in the space of two innings? Shahid, you were never a good Test player but that was never the point. You were appointed solely for your leadership, which is why I am so incensed at your decision because I think you were actually the right man for the job across all formats of the game.
Shahid, if Younis Khan was still around we would never have troubled you to venture out of your little comfort zone and find it in your heart to help out a bit. But he isn’t, possibly thanks partly to you. So we chose the next best thing – someone who could at least garner the collective respect of a divided team and force them to work together as a cohesive unit. You were the perfect man for that assignment because, since Inzamam, you are the only personality in the dressing room who is capable of commanding unquestioned obedience.
Despite the loss in the first Test, I honestly believe you did a fairly decent job. You juggled your fast bowlers expertly, made the right bowling changes and maintained a positive field structure. In fact, as far as your individual contribution goes, I’d even go as far as to say that Mike Holmans was spot on in his glowing tribute to your first innings 30 odd. Sometimes attack is the best form of defense and a 30 of 15 is better than a 30 off 100. You’re actually very capable of taking the momentum of an innings away from the opposition in this format, as amply displayed by you in the second innings of one of our most famous wins against India.
However, your second innings in this Test was inexcusable and I refuse to condone it as an example of you only knowing one way to bat. No Shahid, that was an instance of you taking the coward’s way out and simply giving up in that innings as a precursor to jumping ship from this format. No one expected you to win the match for us, Shahid. But yaar, at least don’t come out there and wave the white flag, which is more yellow in your case.
You aren’t fooling me, Shahid, with your apparently candid submissions about how you don’t have the “temperament” to play Test cricket. I know your decision is rooted in the deep set insecurity which plagues your psyche. You are obsessed with your public image; by the subservience of your countless “boom boom” fans. You can’t handle the fact that they might consider you remotely mortal upon witnessing your failings in Test cricket. No, Shahid bhai is a brand now, and prolonged Test match exposure wouldn’t do the brand name any good now would it?
Shahid, don’t you understand that overcoming adversity is just as heroic as being viewed as indestructible? You’re so obsessed with propagating this Superman image whereas it would be the ultimate endorsement of yourself to actually surmount your weaknesses rather than dismissing them as fait accompli. If you’ll pardon the obscure reference, that’s why Batman is more popular a character than Superman. Batman is glaringly mortal but devotes his life to conquering his mortal frailties. Shahid, why don’t you face your demons rather than running away form them with your tail between your legs?
You claim you aren’t “capable” of playing Test cricket? What kind of a statement is that anyway? Is that the lesson you want to give to your kids and millions of other Pakistanis who look up to you? Shahid bhai says that when you fail at something just convince yourself that you aren’t good enough and walk away. Don’t work hard at it; don’t try to analyse what you’re doing wrong and attempt to redress those errors. No, simply give up and accept the inevitable.
Are you for real? Is that the message you’re trying to convey to my 10 year old nephew whose world begins and ends with “Boom Boom” Sher Afridi? Throw in the towel when things get tough. Imran Farhat is quite possibly the worst Test opener in the world but even I’ll give him credit for sticking to his guns and not conceding defeat. Say, shouldn’t this be the lowest point in your career if you’re being analogised against Imran Farhat rather than being compared to Imran Khan??
What’s worse is, you hotfooting it from the Test captaincy has placed that unenviable responsibility on Salman Butt’s shoulders. And poor Butt has just recently discovered himself as a player. Salman is the best batsman in our Test team right now – not as talented as Umar Akmal but certainly more reliable at this point. But now you risk corrupting his fragile form by putting him in a role he is not yet ready for. The team atmosphere is poisonous and there is every chance it will debilitate Salman’s batting.
You know Shahid, a very experienced and talented player once condemned his captain for letting his personal issues force him into abandoning his country on the eve of a Test series. This player rightfully commented on how the captain should have set his apprehensions aside due to the central role played by the captain in his team. You know which wise player said those words, Shahid? It was you, man! Karma is a…well, lets just say that Karma is you Shahid.
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