Monday, 30th October 2017

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Afridi knew what the world didn't

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By LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
  • Published 31.08.10
  •  

Calcutta: It’s not official, but the Pakistan team management’s failure to get strict with players who were “too close” to Mazhar Majeed may have influenced Shahid Afridi’s decision to quit as Test captain and retire from that form of cricket altogether.

Afridi took the decisions earlier in the summer, during the Test series against Australia, in England.

“Fact is that Afridi didn’t mince words at team meetings and advised his players to stay away from Mazhar and his brother Azhar... He even asked the team management to ensure that the Majeeds had nothing to do with his boys...

“Indications are that the team management didn’t act and, impulsive as he is, Afridi decided to call it a day... That he didn’t find himself in sync with Test cricket also played a part in his decision,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph.

Obviously, Afridi knew something about Mazhar then itself, which the world only got to know after Sunday’s expose in the UK.

Today, we know Mazhar as a bookie, not the supposed business manager of some Pakistan players, who have almost no means of earning big bucks. Legally, that is.

But shouldn’t Afridi, a temperamental Pathan, have stepped down as captain from all forms of the game?

“Perhaps, but Afridi feels he has a stronger hold on the ODI and T20 teams and can crack the whip at will... He probably felt insecure where Test cricket was concerned,” the well-placed source pointed out.

Mazhar, one learns, had “unlimited access” to most Pakistan players and was spotted during the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, in June, and when Pakistan took on Australia in England.

As reported in these columns, players from the subcontinent are easy to befriend and the risk of being ‘trapped’ by dubious characters is pretty high.

That’s another reason why the team’s administrative manager must be a pro, with a fixed term, instead of the position being rotated — as is the case in India.

Our Board, sadly, hands out managerships as a reward for backing the powers-that-be, during the elections. Equally, there have been occasions when the position has been offered as an inducement of sorts.

That, for you, is fixing of a different kind.