Pakistanis pin defeat on poor team spirit

Former greats blamed poor Pakistan team spirit for yet another sudden batting collapse that forced a seven-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka in the 2nd Test.

updated: July 16, 2009 18:10 IST
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Former greats Wednesday blamed poor Pakistan team spirit for yet another sudden batting collapse that forced a seven-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka in the second Test in Colombo.

Pakistan, seemingly in command at 285-1, lost their last nine wickets for 35 runs to be bowled out for 320 in their second innings. Sri Lanka raced to the 171-run target to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series.

The tourists suffered a similar collapse in the first Test, when requiring 97 to win with nine wickets intact at Galle, they lost by 50 runs. On the first day of the second Test, Pakistan also crumbled for a paltry 90 in 36 overs.

Pakistan's former chief selector Abdul Qadir said factionalism and poor team spirit had long been a problem.

"When I resigned as chief selector, I am on record as saying that Shoaib Malik should be punished for letting captain Younus Khan down and I maintain that there is factionalism in the team," the former leg-spinner told AFP.

Qadir resigned as selector last month, citing interference from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Younus, coach Intikhab Alam and manager Yawar Saeed.

"What I said was on the basis of what I saw during the series against Australia in United Arab Emirates (UAE) two months ago and I said that seniors were not co-operating with Younus," said Qadir.

"I said this before and I reiterate that the coach and manager's reports of this Sri Lanka tour should be made public. Had the UAE series report been made public, things would have been sorted out by now."

Former paceman Sarfraz Nawaz also pinned the blame on former captain Malik, who was sacked after defeats against Sri Lanka earlier this year.

"Malik, along with four senior players, is doing politics," said Nawaz. "Misbah-ul-Haq should be excluded from the team as he has failed and should be replaced by new players."

Younus blamed Pakistan's Test series defeat on inexperience, saying his team just does not play enough matches.

But Nawaz said Younus had failed as captain.

"Younus doesn't have leadership qualities," said Nawaz. "If a captain is not able to handle his players' batting failures and comes out with lame excuses of playing less Test cricket, he doesn't have the qualities of a good captain."

Former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said team spirit was poor.

"The situation in the team is not good," said Inzamam. "I can smell factionalism within the team and Younus is not doing his best to keep the team united, and that does not augur well for our cricket."

PCB chairman Ijaz Butt was quick to deny the charges of splits in the team camp.

"There can be no chance of factionalism in the team as I believe Younus has good relations with seniors like Misbah and others," Butt told media in Lahore, also ruling out the prospect of a major shake-up.

"It is not a joke to change captain again and again," said Butt, who sacked Malik earlier this year.