'Shoaib Malik better suited for T20I captaincy,' Shahid Afridi disagrees with Babar Azam's appointment
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)'s decision to sack Sarfaraz Ahmed as the captain of the Test and T20I sides has not been well received by several former cricketers. The board has been criticised for unfairly removing Sarfaraz from T20Is despite his impressive record as captain in the shortest format of the game. Babar Azam and Azhar Ali have replaced Sarfaraz as the captain in T20Is and Tests respectively.
Pakistan were handed a humiliating 3-0 defeat in the recently-concluded T20I series against a depleted Sri Lankan side at home. The loss invited criticism for Sarfaraz and head coach Misbah ul Haq from all corners as the top-ranked side were upstaged in their own backyard. Following the defeat, PCB sensed the need for a change as Sarfaraz was asked to step down.
While Pakistan have opted to go with Babar as their skipper in the upcoming tour of Australia where they are scheduled to play two Tests in three T20Is, former skipper Shahid Afridi believes veteran all-rounder and former captain Shoaib Malik could have been a better option with the World T20 2020 in less than a year's time.
In a video on his YouTube channel, Afridi praised Babar for his consistent performances across formats but said it would have been a sensible move from PCB to appoint Malik as captain in T20Is with the kind of experience he has in the format. “No doubt Babar Azam is the backbone of the team, he is a consistent performer. However, given that the T20I World Cup is coming up, giving the T20I captaincy to Shoaib Malik would have been a more sensible move. The best move would have been to appoint Shoaib Malik as captain till the World Cup,” said Afridi.
Sarfaraz led Pakistan in 37 T20Is in total winning 29 and losing just eight enjoying a remarkable win percentage of 78.37. He also led Pakistan to eleven consecutive T20I series wins between 2016 to 2018 including wins over England, Australia and New Zealand. However, Sarfaraz now finds himself on the verge of getting dropped from the T20I side after being removed as captain.
Afridi lauded Sarfaraz for taking Pakistan to no.1 spot in T20I rankings under his captaincy and urged him to continue performing in domestic circuit to retain his spot in the national side. “You have done very well for Pakistan cricket. You have taken the team to the No.1 spot in the T20I format. You have led Pakistan to a Champions Trophy triumph. Age is on your side and you can put in hard work in domestic cricket and make a comeback to the team as a player," said Afridi.