The die-hard cricket lovers of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have also joined the debate of who will lead Pakistan at this years World Cup and it seems dazzling all-rounder so far has an edge over Misbah-ul-Haq.

Pakistan squad for the mega event includes Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq, Muhammad Hafeez, Kamran Akmal, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Abdur Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Tanvir and Ahmad Shahzad.

In a causal chat with APP, a local taxi driver, Jahan Sher said, “I just cannot understand why the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has delayed to announce the captain on February 4. By not announcing the captain, the board has split the players into Shahid Afridi and Misbah-ul Haq groups. In such circumstances I believe Afridi is the best possible choice to lead the team for the world cup.”

“If PCB chairman Ijaz Butt is waiting till February 4 to see how Afridi performs as captain in the one-day series in New Zealand then I don’t think that it is a wise move because this is not the time to change the captain. For the World Cup they should continue with Afridi,” Rahim Khan, a local passenger at a bus stop, said.

A government employee, Mir Shah said, “The team selected is good but I am bemused about the fact that naming a captain for such a big event has been delayed so much. No team in the world of cricket is named without a captain.”

Support for the now axed Mohammad Yousuf was also split as some fans believed the decision to drop the veteran batsmen would deal a severe blow to Pakistan chances. Others, however, were of the view the Yousuf was a spent force for ODIs.

“I don’t know about who will be the captain but Pakistan will surely miss Mohammad Yousuf. Our team’s chances of reaching even the quarter-finals are dull,” a private telecom company employee, Yasir Ali Khan said.

A government employee, Faisal Shah said, “I am happy they did not include Mohammad Yousuf this time. We need young blood. You can’t bet on the same horse to win your races for 20 years.”

Wishing good luck to the team, he said, “even if they lose, I hope they will put a fight until the end because you cannot win every match but you can put up a fight and at least try to win. I think the team is quite capable of giving a tough time to any opponent.”

There was also some support for the suspended fast bowler Mohammad Amir

“Pakistan cricket’s team is over confident and they lack respect towards the opponents’ abilities. I just wish that a miracle happens and Mohammed Amir get clears on February 5 from the International Cricket Council and gets included in the squad,” an optics shopkeeper at Aabpara, Salman Hadyat, said.

The captaincy issue it seemed had created doubts not only within the Pakistan setup but also the fans who were judging Afridi and Misbah on their current performances during the series in New Zealand.

An employee in a marketing company, Khurram Qasim told said, “I think Afridi should be kept as captain for this event. This is a mega event and we all know that he is the best possible choice for the event.”

A commuter at the zero point bus stop, Ali Zahid said, “I support the squad, as it is the best possible we can have in the given circumstances. No doubt Misbah’s recent form makes him contender for the captaincy.”

DAWN
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