Islamabad, May 31: The capriciousness of Pakistani national politics seems to have rubbed off onto their national cricket as well. The volume and frequency of disputes between players, support staff and the management - the Pakistan Cricket Board - over the last three years, has translated into gross instability. This has in turn, placed the leadership of the team in jeopardy.
The latest casualty of this mess is another talented player and one would daresay a capable skipper who has moulded his team into a formidable unit - Shahid Afridi. The hard-hitting and strike-bowling Pashtoon was one of four Test captains changed in the space of two months last year as Pakistani cricket grappled to come to grips with its match-fixing (during the tour of Australia) and spot fixing (while Pakistan visited England) scandals, not to mention, a poor win record.
This unsavory phenomenon points to the fact that the management and captains have not reposed faith in each other. The PCB for its part is guilty of ruling with too much of an iron hand, not according either the now-sacked one-day skipper Shahid Afridi nor coach Wazar Younis much stake in the team selection process. It was an inevitability therefore that Waqar and Afridi would fall into a collision course where the key-issue of selection was concerned.
And when Shahid Afridi dared to stand up to the board, they must have interpreted his defiance as indicative of someone who had become too big for his boots. The PCB's "resolve" was prompt - Afridi was stripped off his captaincy and relegated to an ordinary team member.
Pakistan cricket will sorely miss their ODI captain, a veteran who has unleashed a whole string of batting a bowling efforts in his 15-year career, not least of which, was his wicket-taking acumen which took Pakistan to the semi-finals of the recently-concluded World Cup.