Intikhab helps end Malik-Afridi rivalry

November 8th, 2008 - 7:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Nov 8 (IANS) Pakistan’s new cricket management is claiming to have ended one of the bitter rivalries in the national team — between skipper Shoaib Malik and senior allrounder Shahid Afridi.A well-placed source in the Pakistan team said Saturday that new Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam mediated between Malik and Afridi recently and managed to convince the players to give up their differences.

“Malik and Afridi met in Karachi the other day and agreed to give up their differences. They also agreed to work together for the greater interest of the team,” the source said Saturday.

Malik and Afridi have shared an uneasy relationship since last April when the former was chosen as the new Pakistan captain, succeeding Inzamam-ul-Haq soon after the team’s embarrassing first round exit from the 2007 World Cup.

Afridi, who is much more senior to Malik, was fancying his own chances to become the captain and never hid his ambitions to get the job. It is widely believed in national cricket circles that Malik wanted to get the all-rounder dropped from the team. Afridi was dropped twice this year apparently on Malik’s insistence because of his poor form.

However, Intikhab’s entry as coach seems to have help end the friction between two of the most experienced players in the side.

The source said that in the meeting, Malik and Afridi vowed to put their differences aside and develop greater understanding in a bid to avoid any friction in the future.

Intikhab, 66, had vowed to promote greater harmony in the Pakistan team soon after taking over as coach last month.

The former Pakistan captain is currently working with the team in Karachi ahead of a three-match ODI series against the West Indies to be played from Nov 12-16. The Pakistan team is scheduled to fly for Abu Dhabi Sunday.

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