Former Pakistan opening batsman Ramiz Raja has been critical of the national team’s tactics of persisting with senior players and appointing a young captain. Ramiz Raja feels that roping a young skipper but enduring with a couple of players, who are nearing their 40s, signals that they are directionless. In their latest T20 series, Pakistan drew the rubber in England against the hosts.
Pakistan selectors appointed Babar Azam as the skipper last year after Sarfaraz Ahmed’s stint began producing bleak results. In England, the men in green had Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik, who are 39 and 38 respectively. However, it is worth noting that Mohammad Hafeez was their best batsman, making 155 runs in two games with knocks of 69 and 83. Nevertheless, Ramiz feels that unlike Australia and England, they are not thinking about the next year’s T20 World Cup.
Ramiz Raja recollected the time before the 1992 World Cup when Imran Khan was ruthless in his selection and had several experienced players. Instead, Imran Khan kept only Javed Miandad and got rid of 5-6 players, thereby having a young team for the tournament.
“I think to get the direction, we need to be ruthless. I remember when Imran Khan had become the leader, he had a net of experienced players surrounding him.
“I don’t want to take names, but there were 5-6 players who could have played for one or two years. He got rid of all of them and just kept Javed Miandad and built a young team. We had a very young team in the 1992 World Cup,” Raja told Sumera Pasha in a show on Youtube.
I am not understanding what direction we are trying to take: Ramiz Raja
The 58-year-old conceded that it is messy since a 25-year-old serves as the captain and they have opted for two players, who are almost 40-years-old. Hence, it is unclear as to which direction they are moving. Ramiz understands that Hafeez was outstanding against England; however, the pressure would eventually erupt on him and selectors would be hesitant to blood in youth players.
“And there is a hotchpotch situation, on one side side we have made Babar Azam the captain and the on other side we have picked two individuals who are almost 40 years old. So, I am not understanding what direction we are trying to take.
I agree Hafeez had an outstanding, I would say honeymoon period and if he serves Pakistan like this then no one would have any problem. But pressure would get created on him eventually and if we don’t prepare his replacement, then you will again appear reluctant in blooding youth,” the cricketer-turned-commentator added.