Wahab should captain Pakistan in ODIs – Raja

"What I saw of him (Wahab) against Australia convinces me that he's got it in him to make it big as a leader"

“What I saw of him (Wahab) against Australia convinces me that he’s got it in him to make it big as a leader”

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Former Pakistan skipper Rameez Raja believes that pace bowler Wahab Riaz should replace Misbah-ul-Haq as ODI captain.

Since ul-Haq announced his retirement from ODIs after the World Cup, Raja is convinced that Riaz has what it takes to become a great leader.

“It’s a difficult one because Pakistan have not yet trained a youngster,” Raja told ESPNcricinfo. “What I saw of him (Wahab) against Australia convinces me that he’s got it in him to make it big as a leader because he showed aggression, passion and emotion and that is what is required right now to put Pakistan cricket back on track.

“The team think tank have not really been able to give Pakistan that aggressive tag that its renowned for and I’ve been very disappointed with the route that we have taken. Pakistan cricket is about emotion, about showing passion and to a certain degree about being unpredictable in a healthy way, which makes it so romantic.

“You can experiment with an out-of-box idea like this in one-day cricket. Australia is a great example. George Bailey was plucked out of first class cricket straight into international cricket as a leader when he was made T20 captain. I’ve seen the ingredients to give Wahab Riaz that pedestal and position. Let’s see how he operates but what I saw of him against Australia, he can take Pakistan cricket in the right direction.”

Raja also noted that Pakistan have to find quality batsmen to replace ul-Haq and all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who retired as well.

However, he urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to look beyond players like Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal.

This is because Shehzad averaged 32.42 with the bat in the World Cup, while Akmal only averaged 27.33.

“I would look beyond these youngsters because you have to get the nucleus right,” he said. “You can carry on for a bit with these guys but they need to learn quickly because people are getting frustrated, they must themselves be getting frustrated because they know that they have the talent and ability. I think Pakistan do not have even at this stage a batting culture, like for example India.

“When you are in and you have got 20 or 30, those numbers then need to get converted to a 60 or a 70 which they fail consistently, not only the youngsters but also the senior players. They also disappointed in that area.

“Pakistan’s batting is a throwback to the 1980s. We need to kick on and be a little progressive in our thoughts and a little fearless in our approach, and that seems to be missing. I don’t think they are far behind in the bowling area but batting needs a kick up the backside. They need to take a fearless approach and a new direction altogether with the bat.”

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