Karachi: Former Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal has advised senior batsmen Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq to call it a day and pave the way for youngsters to be groomed in the national team after it lost the second cricket Test to Sri Lanka in Colombo yesterday.
Iqbal, 72, who now resides in London said while Younis and Misbah had given a lot to Pakistan cricket but now it was time for the duo to move on. "I think we need to stop trying to find excuses for every defeat we suffer. Cricket has changed and it is a young man's game now. I think the seniors must now step down and allow
younger players a chance to establish themselves in international cricket," Iqbal said.
The former captain, who played 58 Tests and 440 first class matches, rarely speaks on Pakistan cricket but yesterday he broke his silence in an interview on a local television channel. "I don't want to sound unkind to these two as they have done a lot and Younis by playing 100 Tests with an average of 53 has proven himself to be a world class performer.
But I think now it is time for Pakistan cricket to think about future and change its mind set on how to play cricket," Iqbal said. He pointed out that even Kumar Sangakkara had taken the decision to retire from Tests despite being a bit younger than Younis and having a terrific Test batting average of 58. "I think Sangakkara has set the right example. He knows when it is time to move on.
His statement on not wanting to stay on to just to break records is thoughtful and indicates confidence in Sri Lankan cricket's young guns," he said. Incidentally Younis, who turns 38 in November, said recently on making his 100th Test appearance that his ambition was to break Javed Miandad's record for most Test runs and
most Test centuries and he had no intentions of retiring.
Iqbal also took captain Misbah, 41, to task for again criticising Pakistan's domestic cricket after the second defeat to Sri Lanka yesterday. "I didn't hear him say these things after Pakistan won the first Test. It is time to introduce younger players in the team. They bring in fresh incentive and a hunger for success.
We already have suitable replacements why keep them waiting. The problem is once you have achieved as much as Younis and Misbah have done in Test cricket without realising it, your desire for success does subside," he said. Iqbal pointed out that Pakistan had achieved a lot with its existing domestic cricket and produced some top-class players.
"We look into it too much. We won the World Cup, the T20 World Cup and became a top Test side with the same system why keep on blaming it all the time," he said. He pointed out that England had recently done well against New Zealand by introducing new and young players. "Pakistan needs to do the same now."