KARACHI: Former Test opener-turned commentator Ramiz Raja while backing the idea of changing Pakistan’s Test captain says wicket-keeper/batsman Mohammad Rizwan appears a suitable choice as a replacement for incumbent skipper Azhar Ali.
“Currently, Pakistan are seventh in the ICC Test rankings which clearly shows that we have struggled in Test cricket during the last few years. Therefore, we need a change of leadership. Azhar is a selfless gentleman and has given great service for Pakistan in the game. However, as captain he has not been able to take right decisions [as captain] at the right time and so I think it’s better for Azhar as well as Pakistan cricket that the Test captaincy is changed,” Ramiz said while talking in Dawn News program ‘Replay’ on Friday.
“In my opinion, Rizwan can be a suitable replacement for Azhar as he [Rizwan] has the ability to lead the side. Also he is a team man who can inspire other players.”
Ramiz said Babar Azam presently should focus on his duty as national T20 and ODI skipper, adding captaincy in three formats will be a burden for him.
“Babar is our star who has established himself as a solid player in international cricket. However, as captain he is very new to the task. As ODI and T20 captain he really needs to learn lots of things, he should lead the team from the front and also needs to remain bit calm and composed besides adopting aggressive approach [at times], particularly in T20s,” Ramiz stated.
“Opener Shan Masood’s name has also been circulating as our future Test captain but he first needs to further establish his place in the Test squad. He scored a Test hundred [in England earlier this year] but then could not maintain consistency. He has great potential and is even able to do well in T20 format for which he is not known. In future he can be considered for [Test] captaincy but for now he must focus on his batting,” Ramiz continued. Commenting on Misbah-ul-Haq’s coaching in T20s, Ramiz said for better results in the shortest format Pakistan need a separate coach.
“Misbah, like Azhar, is a wonderful man and has served Pakistan with full commitment but since his appointment [as head coach and chief selector] I have argued that he was handed too many roles and he doesn’t have enough experience to handle these responsibilities,” the ex-opener emphasised.
“It’s good that the PCB and Misbah have now finally realised this and he [Misbah] has quit the post of chief selector which was much needed.
“However, as T20 head coach and chief selector also Misbah is not making the right decisions, he keeps selecting experienced players in the national T20 team instead of giving chances to [talented] youngsters which is totally not understandable,” Ramiz regretted.
“I hold my stance that we need a separate T20 coach [for national team] who can make right and aggressive decision in this format.”
Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2020