Islamabad, Oct 30: Pakistan cricket team is going through its worst phase as its performance at the ICC World Cup 2023, has been below average, and has paved the way to its failure to reach the top four in the group stages.
While many are criticising the Pakistan team and its captain Babar Azam; a senior player has revealed how political maneuvering by the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board), leaking closed doors and dressing room discussions and making them part of the media debate, is being done to ensure that the team fails at the world cup.
"The board wants the team to fail, they do not want us to win the World Cup just so that they can make the changes and take control of who leads the team and who gets into the team," said a senior player of the Pakistan Cricket team squad in an interview, given anonymously.
"It seems that PCB is deliberately orchestrating the failure of the team in the ongoing ICC World Cup. It is playing politics at a time when the team is playing the world cup," he added.
The senior player said that any issues, fights, disagreements or arguments the players may have, can be dealt by the players themselves without any external interference.
"Whatever fights or arguments or disagreements we have within the team is quite common. We are all old and mature enough to deal with it by ourselves. We do not need external interference," he said.
"But our private discussions in the dressing room or the hotel rooms are leaked to the media deliberately. The next thing the players see, is a media debate being done on what was said by who against which player. The social media is put in motion as well. And it only damages the morale of the players furthers, who are already struggling to formulate a winning combination to win matches," he said.
He said that the there has been a serious negative impact of leaked discussions from the dressing room, which has been fueled by personal interests within the PCB.
"This is the last thing that any player wants before and during any cricketing event. And its happening when the team is playing the biggest tournament. All of these things diverts the attention of the players from the match itself. They see what is being said on social media and television programs. It kills the morale and injects disappointment," he said.
"The challenging environment, extended hotel stays, negative crowd reactions in India, coupled with criticisms of fans and ex-cricketers, are some of the many factors that have resulted in the bad performance of the Pakistan team on the ground," he said.
Cricket experts say that PCB's statement issued after the match with Afghanistan, which Pakistan lost, stating that decisions would be taken on the future actions as per the performance in the world cup, indicate that the board has decided to remove Babar Azam from the captaincy position, and also axe out the chief selector Inzimam ul Haq.
"Removing Babar Azam as captain is a decision that the PCB has been wanting to take for some time now. But because Babar Azam is the best batsman in the world and is the best player in the team as well; it has been very difficult for the board to take a decision on the matter," said sports journalist Zaid Hussain.
"PCB's press release after the Pakistan Afghanistan match was uncalled for. Since then, dressing room arguments and even whatsapp messages have been leaked out to the media, sparking a debate over the inside stories in the Pakistan players. This is clearly forging a reason to remove Babar Azam and Inzimam Ul Haq. Pakistan Coach Mikkey Arthur also termed this ongoing episode of the cricket board as witch-hunting and asked PCB to not issue such statements that are affecting team’s performance at the world cup," he added.
"That letter (PCB Press Release) was unnecessary. If the captain and selector won't pick the team, then who else will? We have come here to play the World Cup, and they are busy playing politics. What do we do first – our opponents or our board?" said the senior Pakistan cricket team player. (IANS)