By Rashid Ali Siddiqui, Karachi – Pakistan, April 04, 2014: Cricket in Pakistan is considered to be more than a game. People, cricketers, government and media are emotionally attached with the sport. When Pakistan cricket team plays against a team in a series or championship, spectators across the country and some parts of the world glue to their Television sets to see action. And when green shirts involve in a tussle with arch-rivals and neighboring country India, emotions are high across the border in both countries.
Pakistani cricket fans as well as media are so emotional that they cannot see their favorite team letting them down. Whenever team loses a major tournament, everybody wants all the heads associated with team roll.
Now, as soon as Pakistan team, champions of 2009 edition of T20 World Championship, was outclassed by defending champions West Indies, the whole nation was stunned and shocked. Pakistan team flying high after beating Australia and Bangladesh from Group 2, first time failed to qualify for semifinals following thrashing by West Indies by massive 84 runs in last league match.
The demand of sacking captain Mohammad Hafeez became popular while fans and media criticized the selection of aged players like Shoaib Malik, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and fast bowler Umer Gul in the quickest format of game.
The wind of criticism has blown away captain Mohammad Hafeez, who resigned from captaincy of T20 team and stepped down as vice captain from One Day team. He also took responsibility of the debacle. Some insiders said he was forced to step down by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) high-ups, who made him ‘escape goat’.
“As a T20 captain I solely take the whole responsibility for the team’s performance in the World T20 and resigned from the captaincy,” said Hafeez while addressing a press conference upon his arrival from Dhaka, Bangladesh.
“We played both good and bad games but could not qualify for the semifinals. I had a productive discussion with the PCB chairman and I myself offered to resign during the meeting and it is solely my own decision,” said Hafeez.
Now, all-rounder Shahid Afridi, a former captain, is being strongly tipped off as new T20 captain. PCB chairman Najam Sethi has also hinted to make him captain in an interview prior to T20 World Cup. Afridi, himself, seems to be over ambitious to get the role as he told the media after landing in Karachi from Dhaka that he was ready to accept the captaincy or any other responsibility, if PCB gave him.