Younis Khan, Pakistan's vice-captain, has lashed out at the country's former cricketers for criticising Shoaib Malik's captaincy. Malik's tenure has been on a slide after a promising start and drawn a string of criticism but Younis believes it is too early to take such a stand.
"I am really upset at the criticism of some of our former players. Malik is a young captain and he will only learn from his mistakes," Younis, the stand-in skipper in the Kolkata Test following Malik's injury, told PTI. "This has always been a tradition in Pakistan and India ... Former players always tend to run down someone who is in trouble or facing a crisis.
"The same people criticising Malik today didn't say anything when he was named captain. At that time they supported his appointment. Malik needs to be encouraged and backed by everyone, including former players."
Malik's tenure began with an ODI series win against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi and a place in the ICC World Twenty20 final but it went on a downward spiral thereafter, losing the ODI and Test series at home to South Africa before losing the ODI series and the first Test against India.
Shrugging aside the recent losses, Younis said: "Malik is learning every day. His first experience has come against top teams like South Africa and India. He needs at least two or three years to mature into a good captain. I am sure he will learn a lot from playing and leading the side in India. He will learn because no one is born a leader."
Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan's former captain who retired after the Test series against South Africa, urged Malik to improve his individual performance in order to be a successful captain.
"Unless Malik performs it will be very difficult for Pakistan to make a comeback in the Test series," Inzamam told the daily Jang. "Unless he [Malik] can withstand this pressure and come out of it, his problems will increase."
Pakistan's third and final Test of the series begins in Bangalore on December 8.