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September 25, 2006
Zaheer Abbas has denied that he was replaced as Pakistan team manager because of the way he handled the crisis at the Oval, instead blaming internal cricket board politics within the PCB as the reason behind his dismissal.
Abbas was criticised for an apparent lack of involvement in the events leading up to Pakistan's protest and eventual forfeiture. Newspapers repeatedly referred to the image of Abbas speaking on his mobile phone, sitting outside the dressing room while the team devised a course of action to protest the allegations made by umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove.
Zaheer was replaced by Talat Ali, who was handed the manager's post for next month's Champions Trophy. "This came so suddenly, though I knew that change would be there one day because a team manager is only on a tour-by-tour contract," Zaheer was quoted as saying by the London-based Sunday Telegraph.
"The reason my contract was not renewed was nothing to do with what happened at The Oval, it's because [PCB director of operations] Saleem Altaf was totally against me and for no rhyme or reason. He had wanted to make Talat Ali manager for so long and he saw this as the right time to make the change," said Abbas, referring to speculation before the tour to England this summer that Altaf wanted Ali as manager.
"They try to say that I was on the phone when this ball issue was taking place but that was my job. I was there to help the media and that was what I was doing.
"I have and always have had an excellent relationship with the English media and I wanted to cooperate with them, and overseas media. They reported fairly on Pakistan all tour and I hope some of that was because of my role."
When contacted by Cricinfo, Altaf refused to comment on the issue.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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