LAHORE: A number of former Test cricketers on Thursday gave mixed response on Pakistan Cricket Board’s decision to give Misbah-ul-Haq dual role of national team’s head coach and chief selector.
The PCB appointed former Pakistan captain Misbah to the dual role on Wednesday.
While batting legend Javed Miandad and former Test fast bowler Salim Altaf were not satisfied with the decision, the likes of ex-Test fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz and former chief selector Mohammad Ilyas supported the idea, as both of them advised critics to wait for the results.
“Look Misbah has no high-level coaching skills. Still if they wanted to benefit from his expertise, first he should have been appointed as assistant coach to a senior coach, to learn and to be elevated [later],” Miandad said while talking to Dawn.
“In fact, Misbah should have been chief executive officer or chairman of the PCB. He knows cricket and luckily is also a literate person and such cricketers should have been at a high post like CEO or chairman,” Miandad added.
Miandad also criticised the PCB for inducting foreign persons at the top in the Board’s set-up.
“I don’t like foreigners or dual-nationality holders running Pakistan cricket. Who will grill them in case of any disaster? Because they will flee after completing their tenure or in case of any major adversity.
“If you take votes from Pakistanis to become prime minister, you have the responsibility to trust Pakistanis, not foreigners,” Miandad said, directing his criticism at Prime Minister Imran Khan who is also patron of the PCB.
When highlighted the PCB had taken the stance that after giving the dual role Misbah would now be held accountable for any failure of national team, something which was not happening in the past, Miandad said, “The PCB has appointed Misbah for three years. However, in case of failure even at next year’s T20 World Cup would you sack him? Is there any such clause included in the agreement.
“For me the responsible must be those, who appoint one person. In fact, in case of any failure the appointing authority must be [held] responsible,” he argued.
Miandad, also a former national team coach, urged the PCB to appoint experienced former cricketers as president of the district and provincial cricket bodies, noting they were the best to handle cricketing affairs.
Giving his views on Misbah’s new role, Salim Altaf reckoned it was not fair to give dual responsibility to one person, as he termed it counter-productive.
“Selection committee should be an independent body. It is not necessary that if this system is going on in New Zealand, it will also work in Pakistan, as hardly any other cricket board is working this way,” Salim told Dawn.
When reminded that the PCB believes now at least one person would be held responsible in case of a failure, Salim said, “If the team does not do well, will you fire Misbah? How will this move be possible as you have given him a three-year contract?
“You have to play two Tests against Australia next year and in case of any bad performance, will the PCB sack Misbah? And if not then where will the question of accountability go,” he wondered.
Salim also lashed out at PCB’s new domestic structure, saying it was wrong that the Board was following the Australian model for domestic cricket — switching from 16 regional and departmental teams to just six provincial teams.
“If you follow Australian cricket, we should not ignore the fact that they have a strong domestic system based on school and club cricket. Whereas our school and club cricket are weak,” he stated.
“There are four tiers in Australian club cricket and only after passing through these four stages a cricketer is picked in a state team’s second XI. In this way, a cricketer comes out at the national level through a very strong club and school system run by the state.”
Meanwhile commenting on Misbah’s appointment, Sarfraz said the ex-Pakistan captain would at least be responsible for any defeat, which was not the practice in the past.
“It is a new experience and we should wait for its results. It is premature to reject it with one stroke,” Sarfraz told Dawn from London.
“In the past, chief selector and head coach would start blame game in case of the team’s failure and in that scenario it could not be determined as to who was actually responsible. Now it is test of Misbah’s nerves and of course it is not an easy job facing heaps of criticism,” Sarfraz remarked.
“Obviously, Misbah now needs all-out support from PCB high-ups in tough times he probably will have to face amid huge pressure from the power centres for selecting certain cricketers [in the team],” Sarfraz said.
Endorsing Sarfraz’s views, former Test cricketer and chief selector Ilyas said let Misbah perform first in his new role.
“When on my recommendation then PCB chairman Ijaz Butt appointed Misbah as Pakistan captain, several former cricketers were against the move. However, Misbah justified his selection as captain,” Ilyas said.
“Misbah has strong nerves and I hope he will face all kinds of pressure with a heart to deliver again,” he said.
Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2019