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Simmons outburst exposes discord in Afghan camp

Last updated on: June 19, 2019 18:22 IST

A pitch invader runs onto the field with an Afghanistan flag at the end of the England-Afghanistan on Tuesday

IMAGE: A pitch invader runs onto the field with an Afghanistan flag at the end of the England-Afghanistan match on Tuesday. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters

Afghanistan look in disarray on and off the field at the World Cup. Coach Phil Simmons's Twitter outburst on Wednesday has revealed signs of discord within the team.

Gulbadin Naib's men suffered their fifth defeat in as many matches after losing to hosts England on Tuesday, looking completely defenceless against home captain Eoin Morgan's astonishing six-hitting spree at Old Trafford.

 

Naib replaced Asghar Afghan as captain ahead of the World Cup in a last-minute leadership change that was criticised by senior players, including Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi.

Former chief selector Dawlat Ahmadzai has blamed the coaching staff for the debacle which irked Simmons.

"I am in the middle of a World Cup and trying to get our team to perform to the level we expect but at the end of the World Cup I will tell the Afghanistan people about the part that Mr Dawlat Ahmadzai had to play in our preparation and his part in the dismissal of #AsgharAfghan," Simmons tweeted.

"Me asking to renew my contract with ACB is absolutely untrue #FakeNews," he said, in another tweet last week.

The Afghan team also found themselves in an embarrassing situation earlier in the tournament when stumper-batsman Mohammad Shehzad threatened to quit cricket after being ruled out of the World Cup with a knee injury.

Shehzad played in Afghanistan's first two matches but the Afghanistan Cricket Board cut him from the squad, saying his injury would not allow him to play any further part. He said the medical advice he sought suggested he would have been fit in a few of days after having his knee drained. ACB Chief Executive Asadullah Khan told the ESPNcricinfo website that the team's priority was picking match-fit players.

Afghan players in altercation with fan?

An Afghanistan fan runs on to the pitch after the match on Tuesday 

IMAGE: A pitch invader embraces Afghanistan's Ikram Alikhil at the end of the match as England players celebrate. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images via Reuters

Meanwhile, the BBC reported that on the eve of the England match some members of the Afghanistan team were involved in an altercation at a restaurant in Manchester on Tuesday.

The report said the players involved were unhappy at being filmed and confronted a member of the public. Greater Manchester Police officers attended the incident but no arrests were made.

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib, however, played down the incident after Wednesday's match and threatened to walk out of the news conference when pressed further about what happened. 

The incident took place in a restaurant in Manchester on Monday when some of the players took objection to being filmed by a man in public and confronted him.

"No, I haven't, so you can ask my security officer. I didn't know anything about him, about them," he said.

"It's not a big issue for the team, for me," he said, when asked about the incident.

According to AFP, a statement issued by Greater Manchester Police on Tuesday, confirmed that officers attended Akbar's restaurant shortly after 11:15 pm local time (2215 GMT) on Monday.

"No one was injured and no arrests have been made. Enquiries are ongoing," the statement read.

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