Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammed Hafeez denied there were differences between them which led to team’s loss against South Africa and are damaging the side’s performance.

[caption id="attachment_420" align="alignright" width="255"]Former PCB chairman Ijaz Butt accuses Hafeez and Whatmore of putting pressure on Misbah (Photo: AFP) Former PCB chairman Ijaz Butt accuses Hafeez and Whatmore of putting pressure on Misbah (Photo: AFP)[/caption]

South Africa whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 in Test series and defeated them 3-2 in one-day series, after which the media was quick to put blame on the alleged rift between the Test and ODI captain Misbah and the T20 captain Hafeez.

Misbah, who had already denied any rift with Hafeez, reiterated yesterday in joint press conference with the T20 skipper: “I repeated it once again that the reason for our defeat in South Africa was not differences, but it was simply because South Africa played better than us.”

The confusion the reports created reached its peak yesterday when former chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ijaz Butt accused Hafeez and Dav Whatmore, team’s head coach, of supporting and backing each other, and ultimately,  putting pressure on Misbah.

“Misbah is under great pressure as both Whatmore and Hafeez have joined hands to support each other,” Ijaz told English daily newspaper Dawn.

He argued that Misbah’s performance has been in decline since Hafeez was handed over the reins of T20 captaincy in May.

Ijaz also demanded the current PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf to change Hafeez and Whatmore.

Hafeez, who was sitting next to Misbah in the press conference, refuted Ijaz’s allegations and said such remarks by a former chairman of the PCB would further make the situation worse for cricket in Pakistan.

Terming the reports of the rifts as baseless, Hafeez said, “Ijaz Butt should have thought before making such remarks that his accusations affect image of the team.”

Hafeez said Pakistan needed better and more positive support instead of such baseless reports.

The controversy aroused as Pakistan are preparing for their next assignment – the ICC Champions Trophy 2013, going to be held in England from June 6 to 23.

India, South Africa and West Indies are in Pakistan’s group, while defending champions Australia, New Zealand, England and Sri Lanka are in the second pool.

Pakistan will play their first match against West Indies on June 7, second against South Africa on June 10 and third against archrivals India on June 15.
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