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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Pakistan's revolving door
By Martin Gough

It pays to have a short memory when it comes to Pakistan cricket, otherwise you may end up utterly confused.

Rashid Latif and Inzamam-ul Haq
Latif makes way for Inzamam's return as captain
Remember the wicket-keeper who announced his retirement during the World Cup in March?

He has just resigned as captain after a successful six months but will remain as a player under Inzamam-ul Haq, who was dropped after the World Cup.

Confused? Exactly.

Rashid Latif was persuaded to go back on his retirement decision to lead a new-look side after a disappointing World Cup campaign.

But despite winning seven of 12 one-day internationals, including a tournament in Sharjah, and three Tests against Bangladesh, his fall from grace has been swift.

He went behind the backs of the Pakistan hierarchy in writing an open letter to the International Cricket council warning of the continued perils of match-fixing.

And a five-match ban, dished out by ICC match referee Mike Procter after he unfairly claimed a catch, made Inzamam the man in possession of the job.

CAPTAINS SINCE 1993
Wasim Akram (Won 1 Test, Lost 4)
Waqar Younis (W1)
Salim Malik (W7 D2 L3)
Rameez Raja (W1 L2)
Wasim Akram (W5 D2 L2)
Saeed Anwar (W1 L1)
Rameez Raja (D2)
Aamir Sohail (W1 D1)
Rashid Latif (W1 L1 D1)
Aamir Sohail (D2 L2)
Moin Khan (D1)
Wasim Akram (W6 D1 L4)
Saeed Anwar (L2)
Moin Khan (W4 D6 L2)
Inzamam-ul Haq (L1)
Waqar Younis (W10 L7)
Rashid Latif (W3)
But it could be his arguments with chairman of selectors Aamir Sohail that sealed Latif's fate.

Previous skipper Waqar Younis was one of eight senior players dropped in March as the selectors looked to youth.

But four of those players have since returned to the fold, including Inzamam and, in time to face South Africa, spinner Saqlain Mushtaq

Politics within the team and the Pakistan Cricket Board hierarchy always play a major part.

Latif was out of favour for almost four years, while three of the men he accused of match-fixing - Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar and Inzamam - took turns.

And it was illuminating to see players defer to Wasim Akram in preference to Waqar during a key World Cup match against India.

If he lasts through the next five one-day internationals, Inzamam's arrival will mark the 17th changing in Pakistan's Test captaincy in the last 10 years.

Nine men, including the burly batsmen himself - once an injury stand-in for Moin Khan - have returned for a second spell as skipper.

Waqar Younis
Playing at neutral venues helped Waqar captain for 17 Tests
However, those who dismiss the Pakistan side as changing captains more often than their batting gloves are overlooking recent history.

Since Saeed Anwar's third spell came to an abrupt end in March 2000, with a convenient neck injury after an embarrassing home series defeat to Sri Lanka, just two men have held the job.

Wicket-keeper Moin led the side in 12 Tests, enough time to expose negative decision-making that culminated in England's famous victory in the Karachi gloaming.

And Waqar held the job for 17 Tests, longer than anyone since great all-rounder Imran Khan and an achievement despite expanded Test schedules.

Admittedly, the lack of home series, and the accompanying pressure from fanatical supporters, has helped.

Because of safety fears just three of those matches were in Pakistan and two brought victories.

The current regime appears to desire consistency even if it is sometimes difficult to sustain in Pakistan's cricketing climate.

But it will take long-term success for Inzamam to prove the reigns of Moin and Waqar were a sign of things to come rather than a break from the usual merry-go-round.




SEE ALSO
Pakistan appoint Inzamam
25 Sep 03  |  Cricket
Latif resigns captaincy
24 Sep 03  |  Cricket


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