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'Pakistan team not extra religious'

Former Pakistan selector Ehteshamuddin denies that the Pakistani cricketers performed any extra religious activities.

cricket Updated: Apr 09, 2007 02:19 IST

Former Pakistan selector Ehteshamuddin has denied that the Pakistani cricketers performed any extra religious activities, one of the charges laid against them for their debacle in the ongoing World Cup.

"I remained with the Pakistan team during its last tour to South Africa (January-February), but I did not see any extra religious activities of the boys except offering of prayers," Ehteshamuddin was quoted as saying by Dawn.

Ehtesham, who was summoned by a Performance Evaluation Committee on Saturday, however, declined to comment on the statement of media manager Pervaiz Mir, who had stated on Friday that the players were more focused on religious activities instead of cricket in the World Cup.

"I was not with the team in the West Indies, therefore, I can't make any comment on Mir's statement," said Ehtesham.

"But during my stay in South Africa I travelled with the players from one city to another and there were no prayers offered during the flights," he said.

Pakistan made a surprising exit from the first round of the World Cup and also lost its coach Bob Woolmer who died in mysterious circumstances a day after they suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of Ireland.

Contradicting former chief selector Wasim Bari's statement regarding captain Inzamam-ul-Haq's interference in the selection matters, Ehtesham said, "It is a wrong perception that Inzamam influenced team selection. Yes, he has been giving opinions as skipper which were accepted at times but rejected on other occasions."

First Published: Apr 08, 2007 21:04 IST