Hanif Muhammad calls Afridi good captain, popular player

ISLAMABAD: Former Test Cricketer Hanif Muhammad believes Pakistan Twenty20 skipper Shahid Afridi is a very good captain and is loved by all around the world.

Hanif, who was considered one of the best batsmen in the world, said it was bad luck that Afridi got run out in the match against India of the Asia Cup otherwise he would have scored well. “Afridi is a very good captain and is respected all over. People get sad when Afridi is dismissed on the field,” he said.

Speaking about the national team’s inconsistent batting, Hanif, 81, urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to appoint a new Pakistani batting coach for the team as the performances of our batmen are hopeless.

Hanif said current coach Waqar Younis “cannot teach batting to the players” and therefore there is a dire need of appointing a new batting coach.

“The coach should be from Pakistan as he can manage the players well,” he said. Hanif said in the opener against India, Pakistani batsmen batted poorly therefore the bowlers were unable to defend such a low total. “Our bowlers bowled magnificently but were unable to defend such kind of a total,” he said adding Pakistan should set up in mind a target of about 130- 150 to score when they bat first.

“It is very unfortunate that our batsmen couldn’t even stand at the crease for 20 overs when they bat first.”

Hanif, who was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1968, said Khurram Manzoor should have been sent to open instead of Muhammad Hafeez. “Hafeez is good as one down and should have been sent at his number,” he said.

However Hanif, who scored a famous 337 against West Indies in a six- day Test at Bridgetown in 1957-58, predicted that the Asia Cup final would be played between Pakistan and India.

“Pakistan will make a comeback in the tournament and I feel the final would be played between Pakistan and India,” he said.

Pakistan will now play Bangladesh on March 2 and Sri Lanka on March 4.