‘Wary’ Pak team management bars cricketers from talking to media
Melbourne: The memories of the disastrous tour Down Under earlier this year is still afresh in the minds of the Pakistani team management, which seems to be the prime reason behind members of the team being prevented from talking to the media ahead of the first Test against Australia starting on Tuesday.
The team management has ‘unofficially’ appointed coach Waqar Younis and skipper Shahid Afridi as “designated team spokesmen” to avoid any incident similar to what was witnessed during the Australian tour, particularly ahead of the Hobart Test.
It may be recalled that the team management suspected middle order batsman Umar Akmal of faking an injury in protest against axing of brother Kamran Akmal, who was dropped from the squad for dropping five catches in the second Sydney Test that Pakistan stunningly lost.
Kamran repeatedly insisted that he would be playing in the third Test at Hobart, contradicting coach Intikhab Alam, who said Kamran has been dropped.
Meanwhile, Australia captain Ricky Ponting has targeted his Pakistani counterpart Shahid Afridi, raining doubts over his batting ability in the longer version of the game.
Expressing surprise at Afridi’s appointment as Test captain, Ponting said he would have been confused if he had been replaced by a player who ended his Test retirement after captaincy offer.
Ponting said Afridi plays an important role in the young Pakistani squad and it was important that the maverick all rounder is kept in control in order to check Pakistan’s resurgence.
“We always talk about trying to nullify the captain and trying to take the captain down early,” The Herald Sun quoted Afridi, as saying.
“He’s probably got to bat at No. 6, so if we get some early wickets and get him there against the newer ball, our quicks I think will test him out,” Ponting said.