Afridi 'absolutely clueless' in tactics and leadership, says Pakistan team manager

Published: April 1, 2016
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PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam, in his report submitted to the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) Fact-Finding committee, has claimed Shahid Afridi is an ‘absolutely clueless’ captain.

Afridi-led Pakistan side presented a dismal performance in the Asia Cup and the World T20 and Inktikhab thinks the T20I captain was involved in ‘needless controversies’ during the world event.

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“These very same reasons continued to be Team Pakistan’s bugbear, but since this was a global tournament with the top-most competing for honours, the magnitude of the stress, and the pressure was even more pronounced,” Intikhab wrote in his five-page report.

“The recent Asia Cup and the ICC World T20 have made it evident that we have critical gaps both in batting and bowling, and our fielding keeps on leaking runs, thus releasing pressure. In bowling, with the exception of Mohammad Amir, we do not have a bowler who can win us matches. Our death bowling also is way below par. And the same goes with our batting line-up, where we do not have reliable pinch hitters and the top and power hitter to clinch us games,” he added.

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Intikhab further added: “To cap it all, the tournament was being held in India, where the team was under multiple scanners at the same time, pushing the stress and anxiety levels very high. Much to our chagrin [added to the above reasons], was a captain in his farewell event after a career spanning nearly 20 years, yet absolutely clueless in terms of on-field tactics and off-field leadership.”

Intikhab continued: “We were also set back by two absolutely needless controversies, the first emanating from Afridi’s ‘more-loved-in-India-than-in-Pakistan’ statement in his mandatory on-arrival press conference [had he stuck to the detailed briefing given to him by the Media Manager and myself, this would not have occurred] and Umar Akmal again stealing the limelight in an unseemly manner by seeking Imran Khan’s intervention to fix his batting position at three, when he had done little to inspire confidence at number 4.”

Pakistan team manager wrote in detail about the match against India and the events which transpired into a six-wicket defeat against MS Dhoni’s men.

Afridi’s attitude was non-serious during Asia Cup and World T20: Waqar

“On the day, the events also conspired against us,” wrote Intikhab. “For one, the weather didn’t help. On the same square where the Pakistan batsmen gave a command performance against Sri Lanka [the warm-up match] and Bangladesh, the weather suddenly turned from sultry and sunny to wet and unpredictable. Intermittent rain during the night prior to the game, followed by further downpours and overcast skies, meant that the pitch and outfield remained covered for more than 24 hours, changing its character from slow in pace to a spitefully turning and gripping one.”

Intikhab added that Pakistan legend Imran Khan was only good enough to give a pep talk to the team and lacked the ability to understand the post-modern demands of the game.

“To prop up the team’s morale, Shahid Afridi invited Imran Khan (then in India for his own media and other engagements) for a pep talk prior to the game. Imran for his part tried to lift the morale, advising the boys to stay positive till the last ball was bowled, and never allow the possibility of defeat enter their consciousness. It was a pretty decent one as far as pep talks go, but it was evident that Imran – not unlike many outstanding exponents of the game from his time who have not stayed abreast with it – was not too familiar with the demands and tactics employed in this condensed, post-modern format of the game.”

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Intikhab further criticised the non-aggressive field placing by Afridi: “I also felt if proper field placing was placed for Shoaib Malik in his initial over it may have given us a breakthrough; it was very surprising to see that in a low-scoring game there was no attacking field-placing. There was no slip; had he employed a slip cordon for Malik, we may have had Yuvraj as two chances from his blade went through.”

“Earlier our batting, too, had left much to be desired. Hafeez was not sent in at number three while Sarfraz too did not get a meaningful strike. These two were our best bets, as they were our prime exponents against spin. The Indian spin attack was not challenged at all by our batting, save Shoaib Malik near the closing stages, resulting in a total that was 20 runs short of the average on the Eden Garden turf.”

The 74-year-old was also highly critical of Umar Akmal’s returns, writing that his figures “are a damning expose [sic] on his game awareness and sense of responsibility” and said that Ahmed Shehzad, who had been recalled shortly before the tournament, was “equally poor.”

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Intikhab, at the end of the report, suggested that selection methods should be improved and a comprehensive plan should be carved out at the Board level.

“In my opinion, to alleviate our situation in shorter formats of the game, we have to make a comprehensive plan at the Board level. And this includes improving our selection methods. Pick-up, drop, pick-up routine has not helped us at all, neither has bowing down to player power nor hanging on to the so-called ‘talented mavericks’ who refuse to learn, evolve and deliver,” concluded Intikhab.

The report was published by ESPNcricinfo

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Reader Comments (20)

  • ivehadit
    Apr 1, 2016 - 4:13PM

    This is very unseemly. If he was so incompetent, why did the management appoint him. PCB wants to take everyone for fools!Recommend

  • Voice of Pakistan
    Apr 1, 2016 - 4:18PM

    Now we know why PCB made him

    captain.Recommend

  • Abdul Ghani
    Apr 1, 2016 - 4:26PM

    It seemed that Afridi was more intent on winning all the matches himself and yes some of the decisions seemed strange to say the least so no arguments over that. However the question is why is Intikhab Alam in the team for 50 odd years? If he cant enforce discipline in the team and is there to merely write an submit reports after the series then please PCB hire me as I also want this job. Cant be an taxing this work.
    Mr Intikhab Alam you have been part of the Pakistan Cricket setup for ages now. If you cant improve anything in the team then you yourself are also to blame for the way team performs. PCB and Pakistan cricket can never improve when a team manager and head of PCB are both 70 plus years old. Recommend

  • irfan
    Apr 1, 2016 - 4:36PM

    Afridi never deserve to be the part of Pakistan Cricket Team .

    He never took the responsibility to support his team, in difficult situation like Misbah , Dhoni etc.

    Rather he just played irresponsibly and how can he expect others to take responsibility when their captain acts and play like teens playing in the street.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Apr 1, 2016 - 4:39PM

    This old and spineless dude is such a historical monument that every living cricketer was born long after he began his managerial role. These people are the the reason we have fallen so disgracefully. Recommend

  • V Khan
    Apr 1, 2016 - 4:49PM

    Just one Question from Mr Alam.

    Does he understand the modern game himself? After all he belongs to an era prior to Imran Khan.Recommend

  • Pukar
    Apr 1, 2016 - 4:58PM

    It’s quite obvious Afridi failed to grow up as a batsman, bowler and a captain. I’ve never seen an incompetent student like Afridi. PCB chairman Sheharyar is equally responsible for appointing him as a captain on the basis of the fact that a Pakhtun never breaks his promise and I have promised Afridi the captaincy of t20. Have you ever heard of that?Recommend

  • ali
    Apr 1, 2016 - 5:33PM

    Well Afridi has already accepted that he wasnt good enough as a captain. So your report mostly focussing on afridi captaincy is useless. Why did u ignore his performance and fitness as a T20 player and comparing it with other players? Finally, was your role as manager perfect? What could have you done to improve the situation?Recommend

  • Pakistan
    Apr 1, 2016 - 5:54PM

    Had it come from some player with credibility and integrity one would give it a thought. Afridi has dignity and self esteem which Mr Alam lacks.Recommend

  • Y Malik
    Apr 1, 2016 - 6:10PM

    When will we get rid of Intikhab Alam? Recommend

  • Vectra
    Apr 1, 2016 - 6:52PM

    Why so much blame on Sahid Afridi alone??.Why he is singled out the most??.Common its just a game.We lost semi final match yesterday but still most Indians though are sad due to yesterdays loss and which was mostly due to bad luck but overall they are happy because the way Indian team played and no body blamed Indian Team.Indian Team despite a loss is still retains the dangerous team tag,ask any nation you will get the same answer but game is a game where one wins the other looses.But criticizing someone and putting him down publicly this is something Pakistan has not done to even terrorists.Recommend

  • prakas
    Apr 1, 2016 - 6:55PM

    Pak team is not as bad as potrayed by media and senior players.Recommend

  • Mohammad Hassan
    Apr 1, 2016 - 7:02PM

    I kept saying unless no Afridi nearby our team, Pakistan will never win the series. He is greedy of money by posing himself in adds. Please kick him out for ever. Recommend

  • Brainy Bhaijan
    Apr 1, 2016 - 7:33PM

    The media has become unnecessarily bias towards afridi.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Apr 1, 2016 - 7:46PM

    All of them need to face the ‘firing’ squad for one reason or the other. Recommend

  • M.S.
    Apr 1, 2016 - 8:04PM

    We knew Afridi’s abilities the moment he started his career but opportunists like Intikhab Alam did not say a word before. Now so called Hero has fallen and these minions are out to secure their future jobs. Afridi is their accomplishment, they cannot run from it.Recommend

  • Nadeem
    Apr 1, 2016 - 8:48PM

    “He did it! She did it!” routine has started. Blame everyone and everything but me the Manager. Let’s start by asking Mr Intikhab Alam to spend more time with his family. Recommend

  • nasser
    Apr 1, 2016 - 9:12PM

    The man is only looking for escape goats.His tirade against Afridi…Akmal and Shahzad is in sync with Waqar. These are the people who have made lives miserable for the trio who have the talent and guts to win matches on their own.Shame on Waqar and Intekhab.Recommend

  • Alter Ego
    Apr 1, 2016 - 9:37PM

    Too little , too late.
    You are at fault for allowing Afridi to play.
    A team manager who does not not know the strengths and weaknesses of his team does not deserve the post.
    But i am in Pakistan so who am i kidding?Recommend

  • Apr 2, 2016 - 10:07AM

    Afridi overstayed his welcome in cricket by fifteen (15) years. He remained unawares of the changing tides of the game. He preferred to remain a ‘village cricketer.’
    Disband, dismantle, deconstruct PCB by privatising it on the KSE, meaning corporatise PCB. Let the private entrepreneurs from Karachi handle the show MINUS politicians. Salams Recommend

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