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World T20: Trouble brewing in Pakistan cricket team?

March 20, 2014 11:25 IST

World T20: Trouble brewing in Pakistan cricket team?

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All eyes have turn towards the Pakistan cricket team after its heavy loss against South Africa in a warm-up match. Pakistan's batting collapsed miserably for 71 as they prepared for Friday's crucial pressure game against India.

Yet another challenge lies in front of them as they face traditional rivals, India, in the ongoing World Twenty20 Championships in Bangladesh on Friday.

Trouble seems to be brewing in the Pakistan cricket team with speculation rife of differences between skipper Mohammed Hafeez and the team management.

There are reports that Hafeez do not see eye to eye with the team management which includes head coach Moin Khan, cricket consultant Zaheer Abbas and manager Zakir Khan on a number of issues within the team especially on selection matters.


Image: Mohammead Hafeez of Pakistan bent down to offer prayer
Photographs: Francois Nel/Getty Images

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'Not a good sign for Pakistan cricket'

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"It is not a good sign for Pakistan cricket that such rumours are even circulating before the start of our campaign in a world event. I just hope they are not true but definitely I would like to see the Pakistan cricket Board step-in and talk to all the main stakeholders in the team so that the team can focus on winning the tournament," former head coach and chief selector Mohsin Khan said.

Rumours started circulating after Hafeez made some caustic comments about the head coach and cricket consultant referring to their lack of experience in modern cricket and how the sport had changed in the last couple of years.


Image: Mohammad Hafeez
Photographs: BCCI

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Will Hafeez be able to sustain pressure?

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Similar rumours had also circulated when the team returned from the Asia Cup.

"Yes there are indications that Moin, Zaheer and the fielding coach Shoaib Muhammad in particular feel that Pakistan needs a new captain for future assignments and the names of Shahid Afridi and Younis Khan are being taken frequently now," one source close to the team said.

There are question-marks over whether Hafeez will be able to sustain the pressure of playing India in Friday's high-pressure tournament-opener.


Image: India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, centre, reacts as Pakistan's Ahmed Shahzad (left) and Sharjeel Khan run between the wickets
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters

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Visible difference between Hafeez and Dhoni

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Hafeez was captain when Pakistan lost to India in the last World T20 Cup in Sri Lanka in 2012.

"Definitely if you compare Hafeez with Mahendra Singh Dhoni than you can see a visible difference but the thing in his favour is that he is a senior player and an ideal all-rounder for T20 format," former cricketer Basit Ali said.

Interestingly, neither Afridi nor Younis have made any attempts to reject talk about them being candidates for the captaincy and both have said if such a situation arises, they will give it a serious thought.

Pakistan won the 2009 World Twenty20 under Younis while Afridi led them to the semifinals of the event in 2010.


Image: India captain MS Dhoni alongside Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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'Need to work on weak areas'

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Also furious with the Pakistan cricket team after its heavy loss former captain Inzamam-ul Haq said, "The players need to work on weak areas in the nets ahead of the match against India so that the same mistakes are not repeated again.

"I always told the players never lose your sleep over it or think too much about the match. But I just hope this defeat to South Africa does not play up on the minds of our players when they take on India," Inzamam said.

Inzamam said opener Sharjeel Khan did not merit a place in the playing XI and an out of form Shoaib Malik should have been dropped.


Image: Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez runs between the wickets
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters

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'Good that weakness had shown up in warm-up match'

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Inzamam, however, had a word of encouragement for the Pakistan team.

"I remember when we went for the 1992 World Cup we lost all six of our practice matches and yet we went on to win the World Cup. But than we had an inspirational leader like Imran Khan and some world class performers in Javed Miandad and Wasim Akram. So I would say let's not read too much into this result against South Africa," he said.

But the former captain, who played 120 Tests and 378 One-day Internationals said it was good that the weaknesses of the Pakistan team had shown up in the warm-up match," he said.


Image: India's Shikhar Dhawan reacts on being dismissed as Pakistan's wicketkeeper Umar Akmal, centre, and Sohaib Maqsood, right, appeal
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters

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