LAHORE: Pakistan could not have asked for a worse build-up to the ICC World T20 in India with clear indications of a discord between captain Shahid Afridi and head coach Waqar Younis as well as the differences between the two top officials of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) emerging during the past few days.
Chief selector Haroon Rasheed announced the revised World T20 squad on Monday with a plastic smile but insiders in the board say all is not well even as the squad prepares to leave for India on Tuesday night.
“PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan will be meeting Afridi in Lahore later on Tuesday while he has had a detailed meeting with Waqar,” one well-informed source said.
“Waqar, when he met with the chairman, expressed his displeasure over the working of the national selectors and also voiced some complaints about Afridi,” the source added.
“The chairman will now also speak to Afridi about what Waqar had to say about the reasons for the team’s recent poor performances, more recently in the Asia Cup,” he stated.
Another source said Afridi for his part was not happy with the way the chief selector and Waqar had discussed the recall of Salman Butt to the national T20 squad while keeping him out of the picture.
“He is not happy that the return of Salman was discussed without his knowledge and later when the board spoke to him he made it clear if former Pakistan captain was recalled he would not like to play,” the sources said.
The source said Waqar was not happy when Afridi missed two practice sessions even though they were optional in the Asia Cup and over some selection matters in the playing eleven.
On the other hand the biggest complaint against Waqar is that he is overworking the players with his training schedule and does not allow them to relax, said the sources.
In 2011 also, when Pakistan visited West Indies, Waqar and Afridi had differences over team selection and this led to the PCB eventually removing the latter as the national ODI and T20 captain.
Another official source confirmed that to make matters worse, there was serious difference of opinion between Shaharyar Khan and his predecessor Najam Sethi who is now the head of the powerful executive committee.
“Basically Sethi wants Shaharyar to sack the captain, head coach and management after the Asia Cup but the latter resisted immediate changes while they also disagreed on sending the Pakistan team to India for the mega event,” the source said.
What complicates matters further is the fact that Shaharyar is very upset with chief selector Haroon and his way of working while Sethi is supporting him.
“Haroon is close to losing his job in the board but Sethi wants that even after he is removed as chief selector he should continue working in some other capacity in the board,” the source stated.
Sources also confirmed that Shaharyar is keen on appointing a foreign coach after the World T20.
Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2016