<
>

Inzamam slams delay in naming World Cup captain

Shahid Afridi and Misbah-ul-Haq shared a 116-run stand AFP

Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has said the delay in naming the captain of the World Cup squad has led to the creation of factions within the national side.

Currently Misbah-ul-Haq, who has seven half-centuries in his previous seven international innings, is the captain of the Test side while Shahid Afridi has led the limited-over teams over the past year. Under Misbah's charge, Pakistan drew a Test series against South Africa in UAE, in November, before winning the two-Test series in New Zealand. Afridi returned to the helm for the ongoing one-day series, with Misbah as his deputy, and Pakistan were thrashed by nine wickets in the first game, by a New Zealand side that was on a 11-match losing streak.

In the meantime, the selectors finalised their World Cup squad, but did not name the captain, making Pakistan the only team that is yet to identify its leader for the event.

Inzamam said the uncertainty was hurting Pakistan's preparations. "With only three weeks left to the World Cup, Pakistan have no captain and the blame goes to the PCB for creating an impasse which has divided the team into two groups, supporting Afridi and Misbah," Inzamam said. "In this scenario one cannot have high expectations for the team."

Inzamam was in charge of Pakistan during their disastrous 2007 World Cup campaign, which ended with a first-round exit after a loss to Ireland, which was followed by the sudden death of their coach Bob Woolmer.

"The PCB has failed to control the situation and if Pakistan fares badly in the World Cup, people will accuse the players and not the board."

The selection of the Pakistan's 15-man squad without consulting coach Waqar Younis or the captain also came in for criticism from Inzamam. "When a team is without a captain how can a proper strategy be made? The team is playing a one-day series in New Zealand but they do not know who will be their captain in the World Cup which is very damaging."