There is no rift in Pakistan team: Afridi

Shahid Afridi insists there are no factions within the Pakistan team and all is well under captain Shoaib Malik and coach Geoff Lawson.

updated: June 22, 2008 17:26 IST
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Flamboyant all rounder Shahid Afridi dismissed reports that Pakistan cricket team was a divided lot and insisted there was no groupism in the side.

Afridi also said there was no dissension against skipper Shoaib Malik and coach Geoff Lawson.
Media reports, just ahead of the tri-series final between India and Pakistan, had claimed that some senior players had daggers drawn against Malik and Lawson but Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Naseem Ashraf has already denied the report.

The alleged dissension, coupled with Pakistan's crushing 140-run defeat in the league had prompted Ashraf to hold talks with players on the issue.

But Afridi claimed the meeting had nothing to do with the reported groupings in the team.

"There are no groups in the team. Such stories are not correct. The Chairman met us to buck us up and remind us of our duties and responsibilities as senior players of the side," Afridi said.

Ashraf met with senior players -- Afridi, Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan -- separately and then with Lawson and Malik.

Afridi said he himself had advised Malik to meet with the players without coach Lawson after the league stage defeat against India.

"The idea was for the players to talk out and exchange notes without the coach to create a stronger bonding.

"We know that if the team wins then it is good news for the entire nation. After the way we lost to India we were all disappointed and we wanted to fightback," he said.

Team Manager Talat Ali also asserted that everything was fine in the team and said the Board Chairman had announced a cash prize of one million for every player after the final win which was Pakistan's first in a major tournament after five years.