Pakistan coach Waqar Younis and manager Intikhab Alam criticised former captain Shahid Afridi as ‘immature and unwilling to listen’, according to tour reports leaked to the media.
Excerpts of their reports were published in Dawn, fuelling a public slanging match between the star player, who announced his retirement last week, and Pakistani cricket management.
“As captain I feel he is still very immature, has poor discipline, lacks game plan and is unwilling to listen to others’ opinion or advice,” wrote Waqar of the West Indies tour where Afridi led the team to a 3-2 win in May.
Afridi last month publicly accused Waqar of ‘undue meddling’ in team selection, which forced the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to serve him with a show-cause notice. It then replaced him as captain.
In protest, Afridi announced his retirement from international cricket last week, saying he would not play under the current PCB set-up headed by chairman Ijaz Butt.
In his report, Waqar said coaching staff had failed to improve Afridi’s behaviour, saying that “sometimes his volatile and immature nature have proved detrimental and led to unfortunate outcome of the game losses”.
Waqar said Afridi created a fuss during the fourth and fifth one-day match on the West Indies tour.
“Afridi came into the meetings with a decisive mindset and was refusing to discuss the playing-11 options for the team and behaved very inappropriately and walked out of the meeting. His attitude and unwillingness to sort out matters led to a very uncomfortable dressing room environment which affected the players’ performance, resulting in the last two losses of the series.”
Alam, who said he tried his ‘best to defuse the situation’, said Afridi walked out of the room and blamed Waqar for being a ‘little harsh and arrogant which creates problems’.
The Afridi controversy has again rocked Pakistan cricket, still reeling from the aftermath of a spot-fixing scandal which ended in lengthy bans on Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2011.
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