Dav Whatmore denies wanting to see Pak T20 captain Hafeez axed

Karachi: Pakistan`s head coach Dav Whatmore has categorically denied wanting Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez replaced, and has branded such reports as an attempt to demoralise the team before its tour of India. According to local media reports, Whatmore had suggested that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should replace Hafeez, who took over as Twenty20 captain in May. "I wish to clarify that I am currently not in Pakistan and have not given any interview or statement to any media. Neither have I submitted or discussed any such suggestion to the PCB," The Express Tribune quoted Whatmore, as saying. "The news item is totally incorrect and based on wrong intentions. It is an attempt to demoralise the team when they are preparing for the all-important Indian tour," Whatmore added.

Pakistan reached the semi-final of the World Twenty20 held in Sri Lanka last month, but Hafeez``s captaincy was criticised by former players and the media, who blamed him for making arbitrary decisions. Team-mate Abdul Razzaq also lashed out at Hafeez for dropping him from the semi-final line-up against Sri Lanka. However, PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf this week confirmed Hafeez was being retained as Twenty20 captain for the series against India. Pakistan are due to tour India for two Twenty20 and three one-day internationals in December and January - the first bilateral series between the two countries in five years. India stalled bilateral sporting relations with Pakistan following the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai, which left 166 people dead and were blamed on militants based across the border. But after hectic efforts from Pakistan, India relented in July this year, inviting the arch-rivals to tour. New Delhi cleared the tour earlier this week.


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