The Pakistan cricket team’s dismal defeat in the Australia series has raised the usual questions about performances by individual members, and Misbah-ul-Haq’s decision to pull himself out of the team and relinquish his captaincy has brought yet another deluge of politics into the equation. According to both the PCB and Misbah himself, his decision to back out of the match was taken of his own volition, and he will only give up the captaincy before the World Cup next year if he feels he is holding the team back. And Shahid Afridi’s statement describing his leadership style as “aggressive” has led to speculation that he wants the skipper’s hat. The PCB Chairman has so far stuck by his captain, and has all but rubbished Afridi’s hopes to lead the team in the World Cup.

The captaincy is not trivial, not something to be handed over match to match. The captain is responsible for selecting tactics and field formations both before the match, and making any changes during the game. He is the leader of the team, and chopping and changing lineups does the Pakistan team no favours.

The debate to determine whether Afridi or Misbah should be selected as the ODI captain is of no use considering both have failed the team on countless occasions. Misbah-ul-Haq should back out of the team if he feels he is holding the team back, which many people argue he is, but his replacement should not be Afridi. The policy of rotating two or three captains based on their performances has failed us in the past. New blood must also be tested. With that said, Shahid Afridi must keep himself in check and refrain from issuing statements that cause disharmony in the team. That disunity is most damaging of all for performance.