ISLAMABAD    -   Former leg-spinner Abdul Qadir on Tuesday urged Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to retain skipper Safraz Ahmed for all three formats and appoint Babar Azam as his deputy.

Qadir, who appeared in 67 Tests and 104 ODIs between 1977 and 1993, said though Pakistan failed to make a place in the semifinals of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, the captain must not be held responsible for the failure. “Sarfraz is a match-winning captain and has shown his fighting spirit several times. I think he should continue leading in all the three formats,” he said.

However, the former leg-spin wizard was of the view that Babar should be assigned vice-captain of the national side. “Sarfraz may take decision to retire after two to three years and till that time Babar will be able to handle the pressure of captaincy.”

Qadir, who was the top performer in three test matches against England in 1987, taking 30 wickets for 437 runs, said after Sarfraz, Babar would be the best option for PCB to lead the team. “I believe he (Babar) has to learn a lot before leading the national side. It is time for his grooming and that can be better done by making him Sarfraz’s deputy,” he added.

He said that although Babar had served as skipper under-19 team and knew how to take decisions at the field, the pressure of captaincy at the senior level was bit different. “Hence, it will be premature to hand him over the reins of team’s captaincy,” he remarked.

Qadir was also of the view that PCB should appoint Mohsin Hasan Khan as the national team’s batting coach. “As a coach he was doing a great job. It was under his mentorship that Pakistan whitewashed England 3-0 in their Test series in 2012. It is regrettable that he was removed without any reason, which cost Pakistan dearly.”

Mohsin was appointed as interim coach of Pakistan team on October 3, 2011, while PCB also formed a committee to search for a certified coach. Mohsin was removed once Dav Whatmore was selected as Pakistan’s permanent coach in early 2012.

Qadir, who also captained the Pakistan cricket team in five Test matches during 1987–88, said there was no need to appoint any head coach. “I believe that if you have specialized batting, bowling and fielding coaches then there is no need to appoint a head over them.”

He said that the expertise of former cricket greats must be utilized by giving them the coaching responsibilities instead of opting for foreign coaches. “We have several greats like Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Saeed Anwar, Younis Khan, Muhammad Yousaf, Sarfraz Nawaz, Shoaib Mohammad, Shoaib Akhtar, Ijaz Ahmed. They are best known for their skills and expertise. They are highly patriotic people, who can pass their skills to the current players with utmost dedication. I think they must be given the chance to serve in this capacity.”

He said the board should appoint two to three former greats as coaches at regional level to develop the players from the grass roots level.