Captain in waiting Shoaib Malik described the news of “grouping in the team” as baseless before dropping a bombshell by saying that if grouping could effect the Pakistan team they could not have won the 2009 World Twenty20 as six players were not on talking terms then.
Pakistan’s 22-run defeat against New Zealand not only left their semi-final fate hang in the balance but also triggered speculations that there is grouping in the team who wants to fail skipper Shahid Afridi.
“In the 2009 team, six of us were not talking during the World Cup,” said Malik. But still we won that World Cup. When you lose a lot of people obviously start talking this should have happened or that should not have not happened.
“The talks of grouping are baseless. I respect Shahid Afridi as captain and since this is his last tournament we want to give him a good farewell and are all united.
“But, in 2009 it was so obvious, six of us were not talking. Yes, other teams have improved. They have very strong leagues in their countries and the best thing PCB did was we have PSL. It will take a bit of time to get cricketers from that league, but it is obviously a great sign for Pakistan cricket.”
Pakistan face Australia in their last Group two game, not only needing to win but also hoping that Australia beat India in the last group match — also in Mohali on Sunday.
Malik said the match is of importance for the team.
“Irrespective of whether we go into the last four or not, we have to win this game and finish the tournament on a high. This is an important match and all of us want to win this one and then leave the rest to Almighty.”
When asked how can he wish to play the 2019 World Cup when he can’t hit a boundary, referring to his no boundary in 13-ball 15 against New Zealand, Malik controls his temper.
“Dil tho karta hai ki mein aap ka baat ka jawab na doon, par aap Pakistan se itna door se aaye hain, tho mein de deta hun (Heart says not to answer your question, but since you have come so far from Pakistan, I am going to answer this). If you would have seen there were only two or three boundaries between sixth to 20th over.
“There are some of batsmen, who hit boundaries after playing a few deliveries. If you see since my comeback I have been the top scorer and my average is around 35 in this format. If you would have done your homework, you would not have asked me such a question. But, I respect you anyways.”
Malik said the current team is better than the one which won the 2009 event.
” If you compare 2009 team with this team, I would say skill wise this team is much better, but the 2009 team achieved more than this.”
Malik said Pakistan wanted Bangladesh to beat India but at the end they lost.
“We all were sitting together. We wanted Bangladesh to win not because we don’t like India. The reason was we want to see ourselves go ahead in the tournament. We were supporting good cricket. If it was heartbreaking, I won’t be sitting here.”