~~Stubborn, straight-talking Waqar reason for WC flop~~

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2003, 23:36 [IST]
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Karachi: Pakistan's cricket chiefs on Thursday blamed skipper Waqar Younis and senior players for the country's dismal World Cup performance. A report released by the Pakistan Cricket Board said pace bowler Waqar's "stubborn" style of captaincy had left him unable to get the best out of his players. The speed-king's straight-talking approach had also led to a damaging rift with vice- captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, who in turn was blamed in the report for not meeting Waqar's standards. "Waqar is a seasoned campaigner who is straightforward but at times stubborn, and struggled to communicate with some of the players resulting in frustration for himself and others," the report by the PCB's three-member review committee said. The committee, comprising former Test players Naushad Ali, and Aqib Javed, and first class player Sultan Rana, was set up to examine the circumstances of Pakistan's first round exit from the World Cup. While the committee supported the decision to retain Waqar as captain for the World Cup, it questioned his form as bowler. "During the World Cup, Waqar did not bowl at his best; taking only seven wickets at an average of 25. He is an attacking bowler but his economy rate was much too high at nearly six runs per over," it said. Pakistan lost three of its six matches and could win only against minnows Namibia and The Netherlands and its match against Zimbabwe was rained off. The committee also blamed senior players as well as Inzamam for lack of co-operation with the captain. "Waqar expected high level of commitment from his players but unfortunately did not get the same, including from the vice-captain," the report said. Inzamam, Pakistan's key batsman for the event, failed miserably with only 19 runs from five matches. Despite documenting discord between Waqar and senior players, the report insisted rumours of cliques and infighting were wide of the mark. "The differences within the team were rumoured. Five senior players and the team manager had met the chairman PCB Lieutenant General Taquqir Zia and assured him that the differences, if any, would be left behind before departure, it said. The report also blamed reliance on over age players as one of the causes for debacle. "The average age of the team was 28&half and ageing players were unable to perform," it said. However, Pakistan's ageing stars Wasim, 36, and opener Saeed Anwar 34, topped bowling and batting charts. The report also criticised special treatment to express pacer Shoaib Akhtar. "One of the factors was the special treatment accorded to Shoaib Akhtar by appointing doctor Tauseef Razzak which caused predictable resentment among the team members, particularly among the seniors," it said. Akhtar was a major disappointment in the World Cup, taking 11 wickets at an expensive rate. Pakistan sacked eight members and coach Richard Pybus from the World Cup squad for the on-going Sharjah Quadrangular tournament. A revamped team under new coach Javed Miandad starts the final of the Sharjah Cup against Zimbabwe later Thursday as favourite. Copyright AFP 2001

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