While Misbah-ul-Haq's form has raised doubts about his leadership skills, Pakistan's T20 captain Shahid Afridi feels aggression is the key to success. Pakistan suffered an ODI whitewash against Australia recently but Afridi says his teammates should stick to their fiery brand of cricket.
Re-appointed as T20I skipper after being axed unceremoniously three years ago, Afridi told ESPNCricinfo that every captain has his unique style. His was aggression. "Every captain has his own approach and I can't be Misbah and Misbah can't be Afridi," he said. "I love to play aggressive cricket because people in my country are aggressive, my players are aggressive and I want them to play aggressive cricket." (Tendulkar, Dravid to Play Exhibition Match in Pakistan)
While the aggression was largely missing against the Aussies, Afridi feels it is the effort which counts. "Your body language on the field is the reflection of your intentions and people will look beyond the result or performance when they see your efforts," he said. This is in sharp contrast to the approach of Misbah who, many feel, is lacking the 'will to kill.'
Misbah's absence - rest being the official reason - from the final ODI has raised several eyebrows with many in Pakistan demanding for his removal. There are also reports of an internal strife in the dressing-room. Afridi though wants players to stay true to their strengths rather than mould themselves. "If he is comfortable with his approach then what is the problem? But players around him should not become Misbah. Each player has his own strengths and he should carry out what he is capable of rather than suppressing himself."
Afridi himself has hardly ever suppressed himself - on or off the field. Not a stranger to controversies, the 34-year-old had said on Monday that Pakistan don't deserve to play the World Cup if the team fails on UAE tracks. "If we are not able to win on these pitches then we have to think we can't go into the World Cup with these performances."
Even as Pakistan cricket struggles for form and guidance four months before the ODI World Cup, Afridi feels the ultimate cricketing glory lies in a combative game.