For a change, Shahid Afridi is on the defensive. After a spate of controversial quotes attributed to him, ranging from VVS Laxman's ineffectiveness as a T20 captain to Shoaib Malik's style of captaincy, the Pakistan allrounder said his statements were distorted.
“I don’t know why people are going to town saying that I have been critical of them (Laxman and Malik). I never said Malik is not able enough to lead Pakistan, nor did I show any disrespect to the leadership ability of Laxman,” Afridi told HT from Pakistan on Tuesday.
“I am a contracted player of the PCB. The contract forbids me from saying such things about the Pakistan skipper. I never said Malik is not a good captain."
A news agency reported that Afridi said he was not getting due respect from the skipper and he was consulted only when he was in form. "There are only two or three match-winners in the side and there is a need for the captain to encourage, respect and consult them in team decisions. Even if a player is not performing, he must be backed and involved in everything," he was quoted as saying.
Afridi however denied saying such things. "I have full faith in the ability of Malik as captain. There is no question of me being critical of him," he insisted. About Laxman, Afridi said his skipper in the Hyderabad IPL team should have been more aggressive. "He is a great player and can be a good skipper in the longer version.
But in T20, the skipper has to be aggressive, like Shane Warne. From that point of view, Gilchrist did a better job.”
Afridi said he never held Laxman responsible for Hyderabad’s dismal IPL. "How can I do that when I myself failed to do well? We lost because barring Laxman, Gilchrist and Rohit Sharma, none of the batsmen came good. I only said that Laxman lacked aggression, which doesn't mean I suggested that we were let down by poor captaincy."