Millennium Post

Pakistan captains Misbah, Hafeez deny rift reports

Pakistan’s Test and one-day captain Misbah-ul-Haq and Twenty20 skipper Mohammad Hafeez again denied reports of a rift on Tuesday, saying the rumours were damaging the team. Misbah had already denied similar reports on the team’s return from South Africa where Pakistan were routed 3-0 in Tests and were edged out 3-2 in the one-day series, defeats which local media blamed on differences within the side.

But former chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ijaz Butt reignited the controversy on Tuesday, alleging Hafeez and team’s head coach Dav Whatmore had formed a nexus that left Misbah sidelined.

‘Both Hafeez and Whatmore support and back each other and that has put great pressure on Misbah, affecting his performance,’ Butt told local media.

Pakistani cricket has a long and sorry history of infighting and Hafeez said Butt’s accusations were bad for Pakistan. ‘Ijaz Butt is a respected person and he should have thought that such a statement affects a country’s image,’ Hafeez, sitting alongside Misbah, told a press conference.

Misbah said Pakistan lost because South Africa played better. ‘I said this in South Africa, I repeated this on the team’s return and now I say this again -- we lost because South Africa were a better team and the reason of our defeat was not differences,’ said Misbah. Pakistan’s next assignment is the eight-nation Champions Trophy in England in June.
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