Saqlain Mushtaq believes that Pakistan will live to regret handing Misbah-ul-Haq the dual role of head coach and chief selector, describing the decision as a blunder on the part of the higher-ups.
Former skipper Misbah was recently thrust into the dual role with the men’s team after a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) cricket committee decided against granting a contract extension to previous head coach Mickey Arthur.
Misbah himself was a part of the cricket committee which opted against retaining Arthur’s services with the South African shown the door after the team’s failure to qualify for the 2019 World Cup semi-final.
Speaking to Sport360 in an exclusive chat on the sidelines of his masterclass at the Kings’ Cricket Academy, Dubai, Saqlain was blunt in his assessment of the PCB’s decision to give Misbah two important roles.
“In our society, the shoemaker and tailor are both uneducated. However, a tailor cannot make a shoe and neither can a shoe-maker tailor clothes,” the former Pakistan off-spinner stated.
“Even though they both are uneducated, they are still performing a specific service which only they can deliver and neither can venture into each other’s domain.
“It’s the same with Misbah, I think having two roles doesn’t make sense to be honest. I respect Misbah a lot, I respect Wasim Khan (PCB managing director) and Ehsan Mani. I think they have the right intentions. But here, I think they are wrong and have made a blunder. And sooner or later, they will regret this.”
Changing the head coach is not the only major revamp undertaken by the PCB in recent months under managing director Wasim Khan, with the domestic structure being overhauled as well. Departmental cricket is now history and the new first-class set-up features a total of only six teams in the form of provinces.
Changes have also been made on the captaincy front with Sarfraz Ahmed being removed from his position while also being axed from the Test and T20I outfits to tour Australia next month. In his stead, Azhar Ali and Babar Azam have been appointed as Pakistan’s new Test and T20I captains respectively.
While different directions are being taken at nearly all levels by the PCB, Saqlain is of the opinion that the vision behind such a revamp needs to be a strong one.
“We are going through a tough patch at the moment and they (PCB) are doing a lot of experiments,” the spin ace explained.
“I don’t mind, I always say never shy from doing experiments. But you have to be visionary, you need to have some kind of objective and goals in front of you, then you can experiment all you want.
“So, about the vision, that we will find out after a few months or a year or so. We will come to know if there was a vision indeed or if they were just experimenting for the sake of it. Sooner or later, that part will become clear.”
Misbah has not enjoyed the best of his starts in his dual role, with the Men in Green whitewashed 3-0 in T20I series on home soil by a second-string Sri Lanka. Misbah has faced plenty of flak already for the embarrassing loss, particularly questioning his decision to recall Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad to the No1 ranked T20 side.
Neither player is in the squad to face Australia. Instead, Misbah has rung in the changes, as Akmal and Shehzad have been shown the door and Misbah has experimented by handing maiden call-ups to teenage fast bowlers Musa Khan and Naseem Shah ahead of the two Tests and three T20s Down Under.
And though Saqlain is sceptical over the structural shake-up, he has advocated patience from both fans and media alike.
“Regarding intent, I think the intent is good with Misbah-ul-Haq, with PCB director Wasim Khan. I am not saying that the intent is wrong, God willing, they have a good and strong vision,” he continued.
“We are obviously going through a really tough patch at the moment, but patience is required for this. The media needs to have patience as well.
“We just lost to Sri Lanka and the whole media had turned against the PCB and Misbah, against Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad as well. Patience is needed very much.”
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