The national team returned home jubilant after it managed to tame the West Indies in both the One-Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 series; a considerable improvement after their disastrous performance at the Champions Trophy.
Each member of the squad exuded satisfaction with their 3-1 series victory in the five-match ODI series and a 2-0 Twenty20 win as they returned in different groups to Lahore and Karachi.
Amidst the celebratory atmosphere, the team downplayed and rubbished the match-fixing allegations raised by British newspaper The Daily Mail.
“The series was played with great motivation,’ Pakistan’s team manager Naved Akram Cheema told The Express Tribune.
“The allegations are baseless and we are open to any investigation. All the players exhibited exemplary discipline that they have been showing since the last few years.”
The manager expressed his wish to witness action against the elements who were behind the allegations of his team’s wrongdoings.
“People at the helm must take notice because it left a bad taste. It marred the hard work of the players.”
Victory was vital for team: Afridi
Pakistan went to the West Indies only after a few weeks after the Champions Trophy failure in England where they lost all their group matches and star all-rounder Shahid Afridi said the victory restored lost pride.
“The victory was badly needed,” said Afridi upon his arrival at the Karachi Airport along with Hammad Azam and Umar Amin.
“We needed motivation after what happened at the Champions Trophy. I am sure this will go a long way in improving the image of the team and the players.”
Asked about the claims by The Daily Mail, Afridi said, “I don’t know about any allegations, but I would say, ‘Savour the win when you have done well and forget everything else’.”
Credit us for victories: Ajmal
Generally an easy-going and humble individual, spinner Saeed Ajmal could hardly suppress his irritation over a query suggesting that the wins came against a team that was not in good form.
“They are the Twenty20 champions and beating them at home is a big achievement,” said Ajmal upon his arrival in Lahore.
“People criticise us for losing; they must also appreciate us when we win matches. The team was under pressure after the Champions Trophy and it was never easy to bounce back this way.
“We are aiming for consistency and hopefully more improvement will come in the future.”
Meanwhile, left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar who clinched the player-of-the-series title for the Twenty20 matches, said he was now looking to do well in the forthcoming tour of Zimbabwe.
“I had ample support from the team,” said Babar. “This performance has given me confidence and I am aiming to give similar results for my team.”
Pakistan ODI and Test captain Misbahul Haq, Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad stayed back in the West Indies for the inaugural Caribbean Premier League. Afridi confirmed that he opted against participation on the issue of payment.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2013.
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