Pakistan news May 20, 2010

Afridi blames indiscipline and Intikhab's demoralising tactics

Cricinfo staff

Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain, has said indiscipline, a lack of mental strength and demoralising tactics by the then coach Intikhab Alam were responsible for Pakistan's poor show on the tour of Australia. Afridi - whose statements were revealed on the leaked video of the PCB committee hearings - was questioned about the possibility of match-fixing during that winless tour but he denied knowing any player who deliberately under-performed.

When asked if the defeats against Australia were deliberate, and if there was a specific member of the team who lost the match intentionally, Afridi said: "If you watch all the matches we have played recently, we have not been beaten in the matches, we have given away those matches. I think the reason is that we are not mentally strong. We had decided in our heads that we cannot beat Australia even before the match had started.

"I have heard from others that such things (deliberately losing) exist but I do not know of any such player myself."

Afridi was also asked if the players were playing for themselves, and he replied: "As far as the fielding is concerned, we do very well in the practice sessions but we have a few players who perform well with the bat and then do not concentrate while fielding. They stand near the boundary, sign autographs and talk to girls. I have my eye on a few such players."

Afridi also complained of not being told in advance of his being made captain during the ODI series against Australia. Mohammad Yousuf had led Pakistan in the first four games and Afridi filled in for the last one. "I told our coach Intikhab Alam very clearly to tell me well in advance if I were to captain the team in the ODIs against Australia," he said. "But I was still made the captain only 40 minutes before the match."

The coach was blamed for contributing to the team's demoralisation, as Intikhab was shown to have placed little confidence in his team. "Even as I prepared to go for the toss, undue pressure was put on me to win the toss," Afridi said. "And I was told we will win the match only if we win the toss. I told Alam, he should not demoralise the players. I am sure comments like those can be avoided.

"Yawar Saeed [the manager] is a disciplinarian and we need to ensure people like him enforce strict discipline in the team. No one should be spared."

He also called on the selection committee to appoint captains for longer tenures, of at least a year. "Also, the selection committee needs to give the captain of the team a longer run. Whoever is made captain should be allowed a stint for at least a year."