The 57-year-old made it clear that the approach employed by the Pakistan management was regressive
Pakistan’s former opener-turned-cricket commentator, in a Youtube video on Tuesday, claimed that head coach-cum-chief selector Misbahul Haq had given up on the young players of the country which could prove detrimental to the Men in Green’s chances in the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s T20 World Cup.
Raja made it clear that the approach employed by the Pakistan management was regressive and could lead to serious long-term consequences for national side.
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“I sometimes feel that Misbah has given up. I think he has given up on the idea that new talent can come through in Pakistan. He doesn’t want to waste time experimenting because the pressure is on him due to the recent defeats. Now in order to win he is relying on old faces so that he can have some breathing space. This is a wrong and negative approach. This is a regressive approach. This format is meant for the youth and experimentation. Misbah’s job should be to find new talent and then upgrade their skills for the international level,” Raja said.
The 57-year-old believed that the recent Twenty20 International (T20I) series victory for Pakistan against Bangladesh had created more questions for the national side.
“Pakistan won the T20I series against Bangladesh recently. Wins increase your confidence; there is no doubt about that. However this victory has created many new questions. Is Pakistan headed in the right direction especially in the T20I format? The World Cup is very close. Do you think Hafeez and Malik, both of whom are close to 40, can win us the World Cup on Australian pitches and conditions?” he said.
Raja believed that veteran all-rounders Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik were way past their primes and referred to them as ‘wheelchair players’.
“I am very clear on the subject. I believe that if we are to experiment in the T20I format, we should do it with youngsters. If you look around, you will find that all teams have formed a nucleus around young talent. Pakistan is the only team that keeps recycling old players. I call these 40-year-olds wheelchair players because they are way past their prime. Players like Hafeez and Malik keep getting recycled. I think this is because Pakistan is now desperate. They are ready to sacrifice long-term goals because of this desperation,” he said.
The former opener claimed that captain Babar Azam needed to form a young nucleus for the team and lead the side in a fearless manner.
“You introduce young talent in the T20I format which is later used in the longer formats. We cannot see this thought process anymore. Babar is a young captain and needs to make a team around the young players which can challenge the opposition. He needs to be a fearless captain,” he concluded.