Pakistan’s team manager for the World T20 and former player Intikhab Alam has admitted that needless controversies took a heavy toll on Pakistan’s eventual outcome in the tournament. In his report submitted to the PCB, Alam also said that Afridi’s captaincy against India was simply ordinary. The main aspect of the report was mentioning the fact that inviting 1992 World Cup winning captain Imran Khan to motivate the individuals backfired and didn’t have a positive impact.
“We were also set back by two absolutely needless controversies, the first emanating from Afridi’s ‘more-loved-in-India-than-in-Pakistan’ statement in his mandatory on-arrival press conference. Had he stuck to the detailed briefing given to him by the Media Manager and myself, this would not have occurred and Umar Akmal again stealing the limelight in an unseemly manner by seeking Imran Khan’s intervention to fix his batting position at three, when he had done little to inspire confidence at number 4,” mentioned Alam.
Alam also added that Imran Khan wasn’t fully aware of what modern day T20 cricket demanded from the players. “To prop up the team’s morale, Shahid Afridi invited Imran Khan for a pep talk prior to the game. Imran for his part tried to lift the morale, advising the boys to stay positive till the last ball was bowled, and never allow the possibility of defeat enter their consciousness. It was a pretty decent one as far as pep talks go, but it was evident that Imran – not unlike many outstanding exponents of the game from his time who have not stayed abreast with it – was not too familiar with the demands and tactics employed in this condensed, post-modern format of the game,” Alam said.
“On the day, the events also conspired against us. For one, the weather didn’t help. On the same square where the Pakistan batsmen gave a command performance against Sri Lanka (warm-up match) and Bangladesh, the weather suddenly turned from sultry and sunny to wet and unpredictable. Intermittent rain during the night prior to the game, followed by further downpours and overcast skies, meant that the pitch and outfield remained covered for more than 24 hours, changing its character from slow in pace to a spitefully turning and gripping one,” Alam rued.