Ijaz Butt has a seaside catch in Shahid Afridi.
What he said:
“Misbah is an innocent captain, if someone else given the statement over captaincy, he will be thrown in the sea.”
Ijaz Butt renews his feud with Shahid Afridi taking umbrage at the all-rounder’s statements about Misbah-ul-Haq’s captaincy. The remarks sparked speculation that the 40-year-old will step down as skipper for the World Cup given his recent run of low scores.
“Every captain has his own approach and I can’t be Misbah and Misbah can’t be Afridi. If he is comfortable with his approach then what is the problem? But players around him should not become Misbah. Each player has his own strengths and he should carry out what he is capable of rather than suppressing himself.
If he [Misbah] is winning matches with his approach then what is the problem? I am different and have an aggressive nature. I love to play aggressive cricket because people in my country are aggressive, my players are aggressive and I want them to play aggressive cricket. I love watching them playing aggressive in the field. I know when they play aggressive cricket, they are expressing themselves.”
“Earlier, the time and the atmosphere was different after the spot-fixing. It was tough to gel the dressing room but I treated every player accordingly; younger were given affection and some needed to be given fear of the stick. You know our nation runs on the strength of a stick.
But captaincy in Pakistan is a challenge. I was aggressive even off the field. It haunted my earlier stint. I have learnt the lesson though; things should be operated amicably. But my mindset in the field is the same as a leader is the one who should decide the playing XI, he is the one who has to get his boys to fight on the ground. He knows what he wants and he is the one who has to face everything after the match. Whoever is the captain, he should be given ample authority to pick his best players.”
The stick Afridi refers to was very much in evidence when the controversial and temperamental talent recanted his criticism of Misbah.
He clarified later in a statement issued by the Pakistani Cricket Board (PCB):
“Let me state at the very outset, Misbah is the best choice as Pakistan captain for the ICC World Cup 2015. I have always backed him to the optimum whenever I have played under him, just as he had when I had the honour to captain the Pakistan team.
I have said this before, and I reiterate, that I shall continue to serve Pakistan Cricket and fully support Misbah to the best of my ability.
This is my final statement on the issue.”
Ijaz Butt was PCB chief when Afridi was sacked as captain of the T20 and ODI sides in 2011 on disciplinary grounds.
What Butt really meant:
“I don’t really like Shahid Afridi. I like Misbah. He’s a lamb. Afridi’s a shark. He should be thrown back into the ocean.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“You know that we can’t let Afridi go, at least, not until the World Cup’s over. So…”