The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shoaib’s attitude put Rameez in a spot
- Inzamam-speedster dirty linen out in the open as teammate spills the beans

Islamabad: The seeds of differences between captain Inzamam-ul Haq and bowling spearhead Shoaib Akhtar were sown as early as the start of the second Test, a team member has disclosed, sparking off fresh speculation over a rift in the Pakistani side.

A player was quoted as saying by local daily The News that Shoaib had wanted to pull out of the Lahore Test after he learnt that Inzamam did not want to include him in the playing XI.

“The truth is there were on and off communication problems between the two. After the Multan Test, Shoaib only offered to step down after he learnt that Inzamam did not want him for the Lahore match and was adamant about it even with the selectors,” the player said on condition of anonymity.

“It was only on the insistence of chief executive Rameez Raja that Inzamam agreed to play Shoaib in Lahore which is why Rameez is so upset with Shoaib’s behaviour in the Rawalpindi Test.

“Rameez had backed the pacer despite the wishes of Inzamam and even coach Javed Miandad who believed he (Shoaib) was not committed enough to give his best in the series,” the player said.

He said there was a lot of tension between Inzamam and Shoaib after the latter “claimed” he had sprained his back muscle and could not bowl at all because of extreme pain. “Inzamam did not speak to him after that and when Shoaib went out and batted so freely on the fourth day, Inzy gave him a piece of his mind and told him he had insulted him and the team with his attitude and behaviour,” the player said.

“There was a lot of tension in the dressing room after Shoaib returned from his batting cameo.”

Afterwards when Shoaib realised that the public opinion was turning against him, he went into the washroom, where Inzamam normally goes to have a smoke, and started apologising to him but the captain would not listen to anything, the player claimed.

“Inzy was already upset with Shoaib during the one-day series, blaming him for not trying hard enough and making things difficult for the team. And the moment he came to know that he (Shoaib) had called up Rashid Latif and another former player and complained to them about his captaincy, he further distanced himself from the fast bowler.

“The captain was also upset before the Pindi Test when he realised that it was Shoaib who had leaked the story about (trainer) Tauseef leaving the team before the match,” the player said.

Rameez a ‘victim’

He said Shoaib’s attitude changed for the worse during the second Test in Lahore when Inzamam gave Tauseef Razzak a piece of his mind when he had misbehaved with Miandad after one of the net sessions.

“Dr Razzak had actually misbehaved and argued with Miandad over the fact that Shoaib and the other fast bowlers were being made to bowl a lot in the nets between matches. When Inzamam learnt of this he confronted the doctor who was then told to leave if he wanted to,” the player said.

Meanwhile, a Karachi report adds that Inzamam will remain as captain, as expected. PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said the board had confidence in Inzamam’s leadership skills and he would continue in the post for the rest of the year.

“We had appointed him as captain for the year 2004 to introduce some consistency and continuity in the team and also to give him confidence. We will stick by that policy,” Khan said Monday.

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