Malik rules out grouping speculations in team

New Delhi (Online): The speculation of grouping in Pakistan team does hamper its progress but senior all-rounder Shoaib Malik on Thursday insisted that the side has what it takes to beat the odds given that it had won the 2009 World Twenty20 despite half a dozen players not being on talking terms.

Malik, putting up a brave face in the wake of Pakistan’s ordinary show so far in the tournament, said this negative talk of grouping only surfaces when the team loses.

“It is because of this speculation on grouping, we are not able to build a team. We are not able to get the consistency. When the team loses, there is pressure put on lots of people (stakeholders) and changes happen in the team,” Malik said in the pre-match press conference.

“To me, all this speculation is baseless. Just to add to that, I want to say that six of us were not talking during the World T20 in 2009 but we still managed to win the title,” a defiant Malik said on the eve of Pakistan’s must-win match for both teams.

Pakistan, whose semifinal hopes hang by a thread after two losses from three games, were hit by another controversy in the middle of the tournament with a government minister claiming that grouping and politics were rife in the team.

The fact-finding committee of the PCB will probe these allegations post the tournament. Besides, PCB chief Shahryar Khan declared midway into the event that Captain Shahid Afridi will be removed after the World T20.

Talking about the problems facing Pakistan cricket, Malik said the team has the talent but lacks consistency. Despite the on and off-field troubles, he asserted that the side is looking to win against Australia to have any chance of making the semis.

“It is not about a game or two. It has been the process followed from the last one and a half years. If you look at the Pakistan performance in the World T20 and compare with other teams, you will see that all the matches have been fought closely.

“Of course we have to take responsibility (when the team loses) and all players know that. We have certain areas where we need to improve. PSL has just started. After two-three years you will get to see the league giving cricketers to the national side,” said the 34-year-old.