Karachi: Pakistan cricket was on Saturday hit by yet another controversy with media reports claiming former coach Intikhab Alam called the national team members “mentally retarded” while deposing before the inquiry committee probing the disastrous tour of Australia.
‘Dawn’ newspaper carried excerpts from the findings of the inquiry committee that was formed by Pakistan Cricket Board to look into poor performance of team in Australia and reports of infighting in the team.
According to the excepts, Alam who was sacked after the Australia tour, told the committee that he felt “they are mentally retarded people.”
“They do not know that they are representing the country. They don’t know how to wear their clothes and how to talk in a civilised manner,” Intikhab told the committee members when he appeared before them in early March.
The newspaper reported that in the committee findings, Intikhab also spoke about the bad toilet habits of the players.
The committee after hearing the officials and players who went to New Zealand and Australia, recommended indefinite bans on former captains Younis Khan and Muhammad Yousuf and imposed 12-month bans on Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved besides fining them Rs 2 million each.
The committee also fined Shahid Afridi and Kamran Akmal Rs 3 million each and Umar Akmal Rs 2 million.
Six of the players have appealed against their penalties while Yousuf has announced his retirement from international cricket and didn’t appeal.
When contacted, Intikhab at first outrightly denied the remarks attributed to him in the report. “I don’t recall using these words at any time, my observations were purely cricketing based,” he said.
But when pressed, Intikhab said although he couldn’t recall his exact words but he would get back after having another look at his tour report and tapes of his statement before the committee.
PCB lawyer Tafazzul Rizvi was obviously upset with the leakage of the inquiry committee findings.
“It is strange that for last two months the Board had the inquiry committee report and findings but its details were not revealed at any time.
“But as soon as the copies were given to lawyers of the players they are coming out, it does make you think about these things,” Rizvi said.
He pointed out there was immense pressure on the Board to release the report but it didn’t do it.
Rizvi, however, declined to confirm or deny whether the ‘Dawn’ excerpts were fully correct.
The report also said that Intikhab had described Malik as someone with a “negative attitude” who was “active in intrigues in the team”.
The report also states that Alam told the committee that all-rounder Naved’s integrity was “80 per cent doubtful”.
Interestingly the report confirms that there was indeed a group of players actively involved against Younus Khan when he was captain last year.
Intikhab confessed to having heard that a group of “six to seven” players had gone to former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq’s house before the UAE tour last November where they “took oath on the Quran that they will remain united against (the then skipper) Younis Khan.”
The players in their statements denied the allegation with Malik claiming that while an oath was taken, the venue was Yousuf’s hotel room and not Inzamam’s house.
More significantly, Malik said what the players had vowed for on the occasion was that they will remain united in case a team member was dropped “unjustifiably”.
Former assistant coach Aaqib Javed also described Younis as a very arrogant captain who didn’t mix with the players neither helped them out. According to Aaqib, Younis was a bad choice to lead the team.
Aaqib Javed told the committee about how both Malik and Salman Butt refused to play a Test match in New Zealand last season claiming they were unwell and also spoke of a rift between Kamran Akmal and Umar Gul in New Zealand.
Abdur Raquib, who was manager on the tours to UAE, New Zealand and Australia, told the committee that coach Intikhab had decided to send Malik home from the UAE tour last year but was persuaded to change his mind by Kamran Akmal, and surprisingly, by Muhammad Yousuf.
Yousuf in his statement before the committee blamed Malik for most problems and also suggested that at least five players should be dropped from the team including the Akmal brothers and Umar Gul.
The report also confirms several people including team physiotherapist telling the committee that Umar Akmal had indeed tried to fake a back injury in Australia during the Test series when he learnt that his brother was not playing the next match.
Interestingly after the Australian tour, the Board preferred to give Intikhab and Aaqib key positions at the national cricket academy after removing them from the team management.