Karachi: Pakistan could not have asked for a worse build-up to the ICC World T20 in India with clear indications of discord between captain Shahid Afridi and head coach Waqar Younis, as well as differences between the two top officials of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Chief selector Haroon Rasheed announced the revised World T20 squad on Monday with a forced smile but insiders in the board say all is not well even as the squad prepares to leave for India on Tuesday night.
“The board Chairman, Shaharyar Khan will be meeting with Afridi in Lahore later today while he has had a detailed meeting with Waqar,” one well-informed source told PTI.
“Waqar, when he met with the Chairman, expressed his displeasure over the working of the national selectors and also voiced some complaints about Afridi,” the source added.
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi and head coach Waqar Younis. AFPPakistan captain Shahid Afridi and head coach Waqar Younis. AFP
“The Chairman will now also speak to Afridi about what Waqar had to say about the reasons for the team’s recent poor
performances, more recently in the Asia Cup,” he stated.
Another source said Afridi for his part was not happy with the way the chief selector and Waqar had discussed the recall of Salman Butt to the national T20 squad while keeping him out of the picture.
“He is not happy that the return of Butt was discussed without his knowledge and later when the board spoke to him he made it clear if former Pakistan captain was recalled he would not like to play,” the source said.
Butt is clamouring for a return to the national side after completing a five-year ban for spot-fixing last September and after having scored heavily in the national one-day championship.
The source said Waqar was not happy when Afridi missed two practice sessions even though they were optional in the Asia Cup and over some selection matters in the playing eleven.
“On the other hand the biggest complaint against Waqar is that he is overworking the players with his training schedule and does not allow them to relax,” he said.
In 2011 also when Pakistan visited West Indies, Waqar and Afridi had differences over team selection and this led to the PCB eventually removing the latter as the national ODI and T20 captain.
Another official source confirmed that to make matters worse, there was serious difference of opinion between Shaharyar Khan and his predecessor Najam Sethi who is now the head of the powerful executive committee.
“Basically Sethi wants Shaharyar to sack the captain, head coach and management after the Asia Cup but the latter resisted immediate changes while they also disagreed on sending the Pakistan team to India for the mega event,” the source said.
What complicates matters is that Shaharyar is very upset with the chief selector Haroon and his way of working while Sethi is known to support him.
“Haroon is close to losing his job in the board but Sethi wants that even after he is removed as chief selector he should continue working in some other capacity in the board,” the source stated.
Sethi not surprisingly has grown stronger after his success at launching the Pakistan Super League (PSL) successfully in UAE. The source confirmed that Shaharyar was keen on appointing a foreign coach after the World T20.