Controversies, internal fighting and Pakistan cricket go back a long way. Mushtaq Muhammad and Asif Iqbal, Imran Khan and Sarfraz Nawaz, Javed Miandad and Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis et al are well known rivalries in Pakistan cricket’s circles. The clashes between these individuals not only impacted their performances, but also had severe repercussions on the team’s performance. Even Inzamam-ul-Haq had issues with Shoaib Akhtar, which often came to the fore and impacted team’s performance. However, in last few years, Misbah-ul-Haq has been the team’s binding force and has successfully managed to keep internal fighting away. The team too has responded to his captaincy.
But a latest ugly episode has raised fingers on the unity within the Pakistan camp. Pacer Junaid Khan and batsman Umar Akmal, both of whom have been named in Pakistan’s squad for the upcoming Champions Trophy 2017, recently got involved in an ugly spat. It all started with Umar calling Junaid a ‘renegade’, as the latter left the team Punjab midway during the ongoing Pakistan Cup. Punjab are led by Umar, who criticised Junaid in a TV chat show for quitting the team. This did not go down well with Junaid, who responded to Umar by releasing a video message, where he claimed he left the team due to ‘food poisoning’ and did not runaway as Umar had claimed. Junaid also claimed that Umar knew he was in team hotel, but still made those remarks, which have hurt him. Watch Junaid speak here:
— Zeeshan Ahmed (@mrsportsjourno) April 27, 2017
Both the players are part of Pakistan’s 15-member squad for the Champions Trophy 2017. Pakistan are placed in Group B with arch-rivals India, South Africa and Sri Lanka. They will start their campaign against the defending champions India in their first match at Birmingham on June 4 followed by matches against South Africa (June 7 in Birmingham) and Sri Lanka (June 12 in Cardiff).