Former Pakistan cricket captains Wasim Akram and Shahid Afridi have come out in support of current One Day International (ODI) skipper Azhar Ali, urging the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to have faith in him and give him another chance to prove his mettle when the country play West Indies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Azhar was in charge of Pakistan in the recently concluded ODI series against England, where they were thrashed 4-1 in the five-match series. Pakistan's fortunes in the shorter formats of the game have witnessed a drastic downturn in recent times. It currently occupies the ninth spot in the ICC ODI rankings with 86 points.
If Pakistan's form remains the same, they might miss out on a chance to automatically qualify for the ICC 2019 World Cup. The top eight teams receive automatic qualification while the remaining bottom-ranked teams will need to go through a qualification process.
"I don't think it is fair to reach a judgment about Azhar Ali's captaincy after just 20 to 22 matches as captain. I think any captain should be given a proper run of at least 30 to 35 matches before a judgment is made about. Azhar has performed as a player in one-day cricket the main challenge for him now is to mould the team and for this I think he needs to be given more time," said Akram, as quoted by the Press Trust of India and reported by Firstpost.
Afridi too asked the authorities to show patience. "We should not take hurried decisions. Azhar has done well as a player in one-day cricket and he needs more time before we can decide whether he is a good ODI captain or not."