New Delhi: Pakistan's experienced opening batsman has squashed speculations of groupism in the team and conspiring against skipper Shahid Afridi by saying the latter is like his elder brother and that he hasn't done anything wrong.
"Afridi is like my elder brother and I cannot even imagine betraying my country which is our mother. I cannot think of doing anything wrong," an emotional Shehzad said.
After Pakistan's defeat against New Zealand in the ongoing ICC World Twenty20, social media networks, former players and government ministers floated allegations that Shehzad along with Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik had deliberately batted slowly in the run-chase.
Pakistan had got off to a flier in the chase of 181 runs but lost their way to lose the tie after not being able to score enough runs in middle overs.
Shehzad cleared the rumors by saying he didn't under-perform deliberately during the match against New Zealand.
Photographs of the trio were posted on some social networks blaming them for groupism and conspiring against Afridi. To make matters worse the federal minister for power, Abid Sher Ali also claimed that they were groupism and politics within the team and it was time to unmask such players and sack them permanently from Pakistan cricket.
Shaoib Malik also stated at his media conference in Mohali on Thursday that they wanted to win the match against Australia as a fitting farewell for Afridi.
Shehzad said that there was no groupism in the team and they all played like an unit.
"If we lost we are all responsible and if we win it will be a collective credit for us," he said.
Shehzad criticised the media for spreading irresponsible rumors.
"Believe me since we lost the match I couldn't eat properly. The tournament is not over for us but unfortunately the media and some people are spreading irresponsible rumors about groupism in the team. As a human being you can give your best and try but not always are you successful," he said.
The rumours about groupism in the team or a silent revolt against Afridi is not unexpected since Pakistan cricket has a history of revolts and dressing room intrigues.
Afridi himself in the past years has been blamed for being part of revolts against other captains including Malik.
The Pakistan media has also reported that in the team meeting after the New Zealand match, Afridi and head coach Waqar Younis had told the players that Friday's match could be their last for Pakistan.
(With PTI inputs)