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VVS Laxman, the Deccan Chargers captain, has said that it was a "collective failure" that resulted in the franchise finishing last during the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League in 2007-08 and said he was "really shocked" that team-mate Shahid Afridi criticised his performance in public.
"Afridi has no team ethics. Speaking negatively about the team in public, let alone the captain, is just not on," Laxman told cricketnext.com. "Being an experienced cricketer, he should not be questioning the way the team functions. I am really shocked to say the least. He should know that it was a collective failure because he was part of the team. It is unfortunate that he chose to blame the captain for it."
Laxman was reacting to Afridi's statement that Adam Gilchrist would have been a better choice to lead the side than Laxman. "At times Laxman lost the plot on the field," Afridi told Geo News. "Twenty20 cricket is not his forte. Adam is more comfortable in this type of cricket.
"Gilchrist was one of the two most successful players for us along with Rohit Sharma. He played some really good innings and his input was very good at times on the field. If they do appoint Adam as captain I think he would be a better choice than Laxman."
Both Laxman and Afridi performed poorly during the IPL. Afridi was one of the most high-profile failures, scoring only 81 runs in ten innings. Laxman sustained an injury after six games, in which he scored 155 runs, and Gilchrist took over as captain. The Deccan Chargers won only two out of 14 games in the league.
"Probably it is time someone told Afridi that a captain can only be as good as the team and to blame only me is totally out of place," Laxman said. "The truth is that the team did not perform to its potential. Every player should take the blame for it and try and comeback strongly in the next edition instead of blaming each other.
"There was not much I could do after I fractured my hand and heeded the team's request to travel with it. So just being with the team does not mean I was influencing the decisions on the field. Gilchrist was totally in charge of the game once he took over from me and being a true professional, he does not take orders from others and was instrumental in making the decisions in the middle."