LAHORE, April 9: Explicitly denying there were any differences between them, Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez emphasised on Tuesday that the elements ventilating negative and unsubstantiated impressions about national squad were only damaging the team’s cause.

Addressing a hurriedly called news conference soon after the SNGPL’s President’s Cup One-day tournament match against the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) here at the Gaddafi Stadium, both the captains, who represent SNGPL in domestic cricket, plainly denied of any kind of differences.

They asserted that the elements airing wrong impression about their bilateral relationship were trying to create disunity in the national team, which they said was working with complete unity.

“It is a conspiracy being hatched by the people with vested interests, that I and Misbah have differences,” said Hafeez, who according to a recent news report, faced an allegation from former PCB chairman Ijaz Butt of being involved in a conspiracy against Misbah with the help of head coach Dav Whatmore.

“Mr Ijaz Butt is a former PCB chairman and he is respectable to all of us. However, no one should give any statement which downs the morale of the national team,” Hafeez, sitting alongside Misbah, told reporters.

When reminded that Abdul Razzaq in the past had also blamed him (Hafeez) for ousting him from the national team and some Lahore Region players were also against him while he was leading Lahore Lions in the Super Eight T20 Cup, Hafeez dismissed all such allegations, emphasising Razzaq and Misbah were his friends.

Claiming himself to be a disciplined cricketer amid relentless criticism against him, Hafeez said he and Misbah with good coordination between them had been trying to strengthen Pakistan team for the last three years.

Meanwhile, Misbah lamented that after every loss suffered by Pakistan on the recently concluded tour to South Africa, sections of media started airing negative reports about the players.

“We should accept with open heart that South Africa played better than us in every department of the game. We were defeated by a strong team in the last series,” Misbah expressed.

He said there was no rift among the team players and added that they were focusing on their game.

AFP adds: Misbah reiterated Pakistan lost because South Africa played better.

“I said this in South Africa, I repeated this on the team’s return and now I say this again — we lost because South Africa were a better team and the reason of our defeat was not differences [in the team],” said Misbah.

Hafeez said the Pakistan team needed better and more positive support.

“Such baseless reports of differences do not help,” said Hafeez.

Meanwhile, Misbah sounded upbeat about Pakistan’s chances in their next assignment, which is the eight-nation ICC Champions Trophy, to be held in England in June, and Misbah was upbeat.

“Pakistan have done well in England so I am quite hopeful that we will achieve good results in the Champions Trophy,” the captain said.

Pakistan face India, South Africa and the West Indies in the group stage of the tournament, while defending champions Australia, England, Sri Lanka and New Zealand make up the other pool.