PCB denies Misbah-Hafeez rift ahead of ODI series


The Pakistani media had earlier reported a serious dispute between Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez over the selection of the team. © AFP

Pakistan’s cricket authorities forcefully denied reports of differences between Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez ahead of the five-match One-Day International series against South Africa starting on Sunday (March 10).

Pakistani media reported a serious dispute between Misbah, the Test and ODI captain, and Hafeez, the Twenty20 International skipper, over the selection of the team.

“Misbah and Hafeez have developed serious differences over the selection of the final XI and it has come to an extent that both are not on talking terms,” leading Urdu newspaper Jang reported, quoting sources in the team.

Sikander Bakht, the former paceman, had also said in a television interview that Hafeez wanted to displace Misbah as one-day captain. “Hafeez scored 86 in the Twenty20 win, so he must be flying high and now wants to take over as one-day captain,” Bakht said in a television interview, referring to Hafeez’s match-winning knock in Pakistan’s 95-run win at Centurion last Sunday (March 3).

But the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said it conducted an inquiry with the team management and found the reports were baseless.

“The PCB high-ups launched a thorough inquiry, contacted the team management in South Africa and it was discovered that no such disagreement whatsoever existed amongst the think tank, or between Misbah and Hafeez,” the PCB said in a statement. “It is therefore stated for the record that all such isolated reports in the media are baseless and an attempt to demoralise the team.”

Pakistan’s national cricket team has a history of in-fighting, dissent and revolts against captains in the past, resulting in poor performances.

The PCB said the entire team was motivated to do well on the tour. “In fact, the management was exceptionally satisfied that at the commencement of the one-day series, the entire team was united and motivated and its morale was very high,” said the statement.

Pakistan suffered a 3-0 whitewash in the preceding Test series.


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