Pakistan news November 21, 2013

Malik, Razzak deny talk of discipline issues

Shoaib Malik and Abdul Razzaq have insisted their return from Pakistan's ongoing tour of South Africa was for fitness reasons and not because of a disciplinary issue. They were declared unfit on November 19 and were sent back home on the next available flight.

There had been talk of a breach of the code of conduct but Malik denied such reports. "Unfortunately we are not winning, and these kind of things only start to emerge when a team is losing. There is no rift at all; everyone is in good spirits. In my case, I got injured in Dubai and was not able to recover in time as expected."

Malik had been struck on the finger by a rising delivery from Wayne Parnell in the second T20 international in Dubai. He retired hurt but returned to be dismissed for 15. "It needs three to four days to undo my stiches and thereafter I will chalk out my plan for a comeback," said Malik, who had been dismissed for 12 in the first T20. "How can a player express himself in only two matches, and regardless of excessive bleeding I still managed to return to the crease only for the sake of the country. I know what I need to do, I need consistency."

Malik was part of the squad for the solitary T20 on the tour of South Africa and played the Champions Trophy in England, but he was dropped for the tours of West Indies and Zimbabwe this year. He was recalled for the T20s in the UAE against South Africa, where he failed to impress.

Razzaq had pulled his hamstring in South Africa. He had been out of favour with the Pakistan set-up since the 2012 World Twenty20, following his outburst against the captain Mohammad Hafeez for which he was fined Rs 100,000 and sidelined from the squad. He also fared poorly in the T20s against South Africa in the UAE, taking 0 for 14 and making 10 and 0.

"There is no cause other than fitness," Razzaq said after his return to Pakistan. "I am required to rest for ten days and this is why I was sent back. There is no issue and I was enjoying the best atmosphere around me."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

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