Former cricketers Wasim Akram and Zaheer Abbas on Friday criticised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) policy of selecting captains on a ‘series-to-series basis’ as revealed by the board’s spokesperson on Wednesday.
The PCB is yet to decide who will lead the national side in the one-day international (ODI) series against Australia in March/April. Meanwhile, the captain, Sarfraz Ahmed, has been benched with a four-match suspension over ‘racist remarks’ made during a match against South Africa.
Speaking to reporters following a Pakistan Super League event in Karachi, Akram questioned the merit of having such a policy.
“Nowhere in the world does such a policy exist … I’m very [much] against it … it makes no sense,” he said.
The fast bowling legend added: “The World Cup is around the corner. We don’t have the time to change the captain. The boys are set … they should know who their leader is (going into another series) instead of them [the board] changing the leader after every series.”
“I think it’s very wrong for Pakistan and Pakistani cricket,” he continued.
Akram remarked that “there is no communication between the PCB and media right now because it is not a good time to talk about changing captains. If I ask the cricket committee, they too will [support] retaining Sarfraz Ahmed”.
“Ehsan Mani is new to PCB, he’ll take some time to understand the scenario,” he said while commenting on the PCB chairman’s reaction to Sarfraz’s suspension.
Mani had called into question the International Cricket Council’s decision to suspend Sarfraz, saying the governing body’s bureaucratic process had overruled common sense.
Former cricketer Zaheer Abbas, known fondly as the ‘Asian Bradman’, was also present at the PSL event.
While talking to the media, Abbas said the ban on Sarfraz “will be a blessing in disguise because he needed the rest”.
“I am sure he will come back with an improved focus and perform better,” he said.
Abbas too was of the opinion that the PCB should announce the captain for the World Cup because it was high time that the decision was made.
In the second ODI played between Pakistan and South Africa, Sarfraz was heard making controversial remarks directed at batsman Andile Phehlukwayo.
As Phehlukwayo got lucky despite playing a risky shot, a stump mic picked up Sarfraz saying: “Hey black [man], where is your mother sitting? What prayer did you get her to say for you today?” (Abay kaalay, teri ammi aaj kahan baitheen hain? Kya parhwa ke aya hai aaj tu?)
Following backlash, the skipper apologised to the South African team, and personally expressed regret over the incident to Phehlukwayo, who accepted his apology.
The skipper was then handed a four-match suspension by the ICC on Jan 27 for breaching its Anti-Racism Code. Soon after the announcement by the council, the PCB released a statement, saying it was “disappointed with ICC’s decision”.