Tuesday Aug 20, 2019 | By: Web Desk
TV pundit Ramiz Raja is strongly opposed to the idea of “dated and defensive” Misbah-ul-Haq being given the dual role of head coach and chief selector, stressing that Pakistan needs “aggressive and fearless” mindset, which Misbah cannot provide.
“The name in circulation for both these jobs is of Misbah-ul-Haq,” Raja said on his YouTube channel. “I do not have anything against Misbah because he took over the captaincy at a difficult time. He had his own way of approaching the game. He was defensive as he used to lie in wait for the opposition to make a mistake. It was then that he’d pounce. This won him many a battles in the UAE.
“But now the team needs a new direction. The Pakistan team has aggression in its DNA, and so you need a game plan and people who have a similar approach. This is the only way to revive the team in Tests. Playing the waiting game for an opportunity to ambush is an old school of thought.
“This is akin to Mohammad Ali’s rope-a-dope strategy where he would take a beating and tire out his opponent before coming alive in the latter rounds.
Raja gave the example of the Indian team, highlighting how it has cemented its status as a cricketing powerhouse, thanks to its aggressive leadership.
“The sporting mindset has changed now. Now the teams are confrontational. Just look at Virat Kohli and co. They have completely revamped the Indian team with their aggression and fearless approach,” he explained.
The 1992 World Cup-winner said that the Pakistan team is playing in a bubble, which gets burst when the team faces strong opponents at major events.
“Pakistan also have to adopt a mindset that matches their DNA. They need a think tank that lets them play modern day cricket. This difference becomes evident when Pakistan goes to World or Asia Cups or when in Test cricket they are pitted against a high-ranked side. There, the opposition plays attractive and entertaining cricket while it seems that we are still stuck in the 1970s,” he said.
Raja said that Pakistan does have the personnel to change the cricketing fraternity’s overall mindset but made it clear that Misbah is not the man for the job.
“Pakistan has aggression but it needs to unearth the right talent and revamp its systems. That can only happen when the mindset is to be proactive not reactive. Unfortunately, Misbah-ul-Haq’s cricket, from what I’ve seen, is safe and secure, and has been successful in a certain type of situation. Pakistan needs a team for all seasons. Until Pakistan wins on away tours, they will not be respected. There is a major difference in winning at home and away,” he added.
If the game is revamped in Pakistan, Raja said, it would not only improve the team’s fortune but also lure more fans and finances.
“Then fans also want the team to change its direction. Until you do not produce a strong, entertaining and aggressive team, you will neither grow your fan-following nor will the sponsors come forward. There won’t be any respect for you either. You have the players who can do this but they just need a direction,” he said.
Raja said that he is also against the idea of an individual being given dual roles, saying such an idea may work in the west but is “impractical and unsuitable” for Pakistan.
“I’m hearing that a single individual will be given both the jobs, meaning that he’d be the chief selector as well as the head coach. This idea can work in the western block where the administration is professional not just at the top tier but at every level; and where an individual can do no funny business even if he has absolute power,” he said.
“But in Pakistan cricket such an experiment is not without its risk. This is impractical and unsuitable. This has never been done before and no one has even tried it. There is no need to such an experiment now. The coach and chief selectors’ roles should be kept apart.”