Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has backed the appointment of Shoaib Malik as his successor and pledged his full support to him. Inzamam, though, warned Malik that due to a dismal World Cup campaign, he would need to take bold steps to prove himself at the helm.
Inzamam labelled Malik a "good allrounder" with vast international experience and the ability to gather the team on one platform. He also shrugged aside claims of jealousy amongst peers at the appointment of a young captain.
"I think there would no jealousy among the teammates after his [Malik's] appointment as the captain because it is the decision of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and everyone should respect this decision," he said.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had no option but to appoint Shoaib Malik as captain, said Imran Khan and Intikhab Alam, former captains, speaking before the board announced Malik's appointment. Imran and Alam added that it would not be an easy task for the 25-year old Malik to lead the side.
"It is up to Malik now to lift his game and first cement his place as a batsman and command respect from the players," Imran told AFP. "It will largely depend on how he performs under pressure, because captaincy pressure sometimes can bring the best out of a player but some players will simply capitulate.
Imran added that Malik seemed an intelligent and alert cricketer on the field. "He does seem to have a cricket brain," said Imran. "He looks like a team man."
Alam quoted the example of Graeme Smith, another young captain, who took over from Shaun Pollock as captain of South Africa following the team's first-round exit in the previous World Cup. But he added that Smith was an altogether different player from Malik.
Alam also feared that since there were senior players in the side jealousy could be a factor that Malik would have to deal with. "Somebody may need to handle him and the senior players also so that there is harmony in the team," he said.