Saqlian Mushtaq
Photo for illustrative purposes Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Islamabad: Former spinner Saqlain Mushtaq on Monday urged Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to look for a leader and not captain for the national team.

According to reports, PCB wants to ease Sarfaraz Ahmed from Test captaincy, with think tank reportedly having already chosen his replacement. The move comes as a surprise prior to the ICC Test Championship, as the 32-year-old Sarfaraz, who has led Pakistan in 13 Test matches to date, of which the team won four and lost eight, currently leads the team in all three formats of the game.

Under Sarfraz’s leadership Pakistan cricket team came fifth after winning only five matches in the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

However, Shan Masood, who is leading National Bank’s team in domestic cricket, is very likely to be made the captain.

Saqlain said: “We had been listening from our times that there is a difference between a leader and a captain. There must be a leader and a vice-captain of the team as he can learn how to take decisions in the field and the pressure of captaincy,” he said while commenting upon the captaincy of the national team.

Saqlain, who played 49 Test matches and 169 One Day Internationals for Pakistan between 1995 and 2004, said anyone can become a captain but a leader is one who leads from the front. “Everybody does not have leadership qualities and the aptitude of self belief of leading the team in difficult times,” he said.

However, he said it is PCB’s headache to deal with, but it is time to think for long-term basis. “The Twenty-20 World Cup is just around the corner and a leader is required to lead the team from the front,” he said.

Saqlain, who took 208 Test and 288 ODI wickets, said however speaking English language should not be the criteria to select the captain.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Aamir’s sudden decision to retire from Test cricket and concentrate on limited overs while shifting his base to UK has prompted the PCB to make participation in domestic cricket mandatory.

A PCB official of the board said that besides restructuring of the domestic season, it would be made mandatory for players to appear in domestic matches to qualify for the Pakistan team.

“For example, Mohammad Aamir who has now retired from Test cricket has to play in the domestic One-Day cup and National T20 competitions to be considered for national selection,” the PCB source said.