Reproduced with the kind permission of the 'Daily Times'
Pakistan's Performance on its current tour of Australia has brought almost everyone in the line of fire. Strike bowlers, star batsmen, flamboyant all-rounders, the 'lazy' skipper, the foreign coach Ė even the generally composed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Sheharyar Khan. The losing streak has also disappointed President Pervez Musharraf, the PCB patron, who has been reported as sharing his concern with the chairman during a recent meeting.
Critics have come up with all sorts of suggestions. Imran Khan has blamed Inzamamul Haq for not leading from the front. He has even gone on to propose Younis Khan as his replacement. Unfortunately, Younis does not even have a firm place in the starting XI.
Coach Bob Woolmer, too, has been widely criticized. The PCB decision to hire him had raised hopes of success comparable to that of the Proteas under his watch. The fact of his being an "outsider" does not make the matter any easier. Only recently, Abdul Qadir, the great leg-spinner, told an interviewer signing Woolmer may have been the "biggest mistake PCB ever made".
Another appointment that raised many a brow was that of Sheharyar Khan. Some people who chose then to remain quiet are now more than willing to jump the bandwagon. Former chief selector Aamir Sohail recently said on television that "asking Sheharyar Khan to fix the PCB was like taking a jet to at motor-mechanic".
The crucial return-tour of India is around the corner. Despite the bonhomie the home series generated many fans were disappointed with the team's performance against their archrivals. The way things are going, the critics warn, the outcome of the forthcoming tour may not be much different.
What is to be done then?
We strongly believe that it is not wise at this time to make any drastic changes in the team or in the PCB management. The streak of forced resignations and new appointments must end with the hiring of Saleem Altaf. We don't have much time before the Indian tour and changing the coach now would be repeating the mistake of appointing him just days before a critical tour. Also. while Woolmer may not have delivered what was expected of him, he derives credit for certain improvements. He has used the volatile Shahid Afridi effectively; shaped Shoaib Malik into an explosive all-rounder and turned Kamran Akmal into a promising wicketkeeper-batsman. And, he didnít take over at the easiest of times.
It would be suicidal also to change the captain or the board chairman at this stage simply because it would only add to the uncertainty. The team is, at least on paper, a balanced and talented one. One of these days the captain and the coach are going to come up with just the thing to make it truly formidable. Remember, they beat India three times in a row after the home series loss and only yesterday beat the 'invincible' Australians.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 Pakistan Cricket Board)
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