'It's a question of my respect' September 30, 2007

Munaf hurt by speculation over fitness

Cricinfo staff



Munaf Patel: "What is this intensity? Talk to me, try to understand me." © AFP

Munaf Patel, left out of the Twenty20 team and dropped from the one-day squad, has said he was hurt by the constant questioning of his fitness and lack of intensity.

"I am not upset that I was dropped, because another player has got a chance. That's fine. I am just so angry with people who are saying the wrong things about me," Munaf told the Sunday Express. "Let somebody tell me to my face that my attitude is not right.

"After earning a lot of money, you feel a bit numb about it, inside. That's when you realise that what's really important is your izzat, the respect. You don't get that with money, any amount of money. Cricket has given me the money, and the respect. But now, with all this talk of lack of fitness and intensity, it's a question of my izzat. And that's really hurting."

Munaf was injured after the second one-dayer in South Africa and took no further part in the tour until the final Test, where he bowled at less than full capacity. He then missed the four-ODI series against West Indies but returned in time for the World Cup before breaking down with a back injury in Bangladesh. He missed the Test series against England because of a back strain but was included in the one-day squad as a replacement for Sreesanth. Venkatesh Prasad, India's bowling coach, said he was "pretty happy" with Munaf's fitness but suggested that he wasn't bowling with the same intensity as earlier.

Munaf said that he was reticent by nature and was a misunderstood man "What is this intensity? Talk to me, try to understand me ... The problem with me is that I speak very less. I speak only when I want to, and when I feel the need to. But what I say is straight from the heart. That's how I grew up in my village. That's my nature, what can I do about it?

Munaf also sought to squash speculations about his reputation for dubious fitness. "See, the injury [in South Africa] was on the bone, and obviously, not visible. Who will understand that? The physio knows it, ask him. He has the X-rays, the MRI scans. I can't go around showing my X-rays to everybody who asks me. I know what that injury was all about, when I should play, when I shouldn't. Only me, nobody else. I never lie."

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