South Africa v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Bloemfontein March 9, 2013

Misbah rubbishes reports of rift with Hafeez


Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, has denied reports of a rift with Twenty20 leader Mohammad Hafeez ahead of the five-match ODI series against South Africa.

The Pakistan media alleged the pair had been involved in a verbal altercation during the warm-up match against the South African Invitation XI in Kimberley on Wednesday. Hafeez was not part of the playing XI in that game, which the tourists won in the last over, by just one wicket. Some publications claimed the main event was not the victory but a disagreement between the two players.

The main issue of contention was apparently Hafeez's position in the batting order. According to reports, Misbah wants Hafeez to bat at No. 3 while Hafeez wants to open, and Misbah is in favour of playing two allrounders - Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik - while Hafeez wants more bowlers.

Misbah refuted all those claims. He called it "irresponsible and baseless" reporting, and said the team had laughed at the suggestions of infighting. "People who are putting out those stories should be ashamed of that. The team is like a family, we are playing here like a family, we all support each other and there is nothing wrong."

He also said such allegations tend to emerge "whenever we lose a few games", as was the case in the Test series, and performances like their Twenty20 one would quell the chorus. "That [the T20 win] was really good for us and brought back a lot of confidence for the batsmen," Misbah said.

Pakistan's management also moved swiftly to dismiss the assertions. Team manager Naved Cheema said the reports were part of a conspiracy to destabilise the team: "It has become a common practice to launch a propaganda campaign against the team by targeting players ahead of an important event, but the team management is fully aware of the situation and is determined to defy all such moves in the larger interest of the Pakistan team and cricket. Our aim is to take Pakistan cricket higher with our team playing quality cricket and producing positive results."

The PCB issued a statement rubbishing the claims as well yesterday. The statement said: "[In view of] reports in a few media outlets that there was supposedly a disagreement amongst the think tank of Team Pakistan, in particular between skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez, with regards to the selection of the ODI XI, the PCB high-ups launched a thorough inquiry. The team management was contacted in South Africa and it was discovered that no such disagreement whatsoever existed amongst the think tank, or between Misbah and Hafeez. It is therefore stated for record that all such isolated reports in the media are baseless … and an attempt to demoralise the team."

Meanwhile, Misbah was upbeat about his team's chances in the one-day series and said they would rely on their spinners to keep South Africa tied down. "Our spinners are world-class and can really bowl well in any sort of conditions, especially in ODI games where we have to restrict the opposition by bowling dot balls," he said. "In the one-day format, we can always put up a good show. South Africa are a good side, but they will find it a little difficult in this format."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 10, 2013, 16:17 GMT

    What do you expect from this Pakistani team? This is happening time and again.. Cricketers value their egos more than the team.Some of the team members have agreed infront of an enquiry committee for non performing on purpose.These rifts even if true,doesnt surprise me.Sad state of affairs ...

  • Dummy4 on March 10, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    Its high time PCB ditched Afridi and brought in someone in the mould of razzaq.. Too many batting opportunities have been wasted by afridi with his careless swings.. The fact that he quit test cricket because of his impatience at the crease speaks a lot about his attitude!!

  • Dummy4 on March 10, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    If Hafiz thinks after a big score in the T20, he has become big enough to lead Pakistan, he is dreaming too fast. Prove in all format then talk big. But I support the idea on one of old horses, Malik and Afridi, not both. Need effective bowlers than useless all rounders.

  • Adeel on March 10, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    I am not Misbah fan but if you compare the statistics of Misbah and Hafeez then Misbah appears to be the winner in all format. As far as Misbah is fit to play, let him play but no doubt Pakistan future is secure. InshaAllah we will win.

  • F on March 10, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    Old saying goes true for Pak Team, U can't teach an old horse a new trick. What good would it do to still play with Misbah, Shoaib, Younas, Farhat and to some extent withAfridi except for some short term positives. After fumbling in the Test Series, where Pakistan experimented in the wrong department( I meant bowling), I hope things turn around for Pakistan.

    Pakistan thrust with old timers is a myopic stance. It may improve our rating in the present but may prove devastating for our cricket going forward.

    Coach whatmore, take a note! Go with young guns, be it at the cost of undesired results in the near future.

    Bye the way did any one notice Misbah's and Hafeez's objectionable playing tactics against India in big games. Just watch the last game between Indian and Pakistan and see how Misbah gave a catch in the leg slip only after when Indians put a man there. His world cup game was very unbecoming of him so was of Hafeez in the T20 against India. Need comments from every one

  • Dummy4 on March 10, 2013, 5:02 GMT

    they want to play imran farhat?? oh Lord... are you that pathetic of a batting lineup that we have to stoop down to such players...why Lord why??

  • Dummy4 on March 10, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    Mishap Misbah's exclusion may settle many issues as he has been playing only because he is the captain. But Hafeez has to move to number 5 or 6 so that he only getaway to play an older ball so that he can contribute with 15-20 runs.

  • Jawwad on March 9, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    Well, First off Misbah is Right. Hafeez should drop down to No. 3. And doesn't he know it really not matters as others pointed out he will only have to wait 2-3 overs at most. Good to see a feel of the wicket from outside too.

  • Dummy4 on March 9, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    south africa will win the series by 5-0 and if hafeez lead the team after 3 matches then the final result could b like 4-1

  • Dummy4 on March 9, 2013, 20:40 GMT

    What results ODI series will bring?

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