21st August 2011, 04:30 PM
Pakistan denies cricket rifts led Younis to quit
Pakistan's cricket board has been forced to deny reports of rifts within the country's cricketing establishment, insisting that coach Waqar Younis (pictured) had resigned for purely medical reasons.
©AFP/File - Arif Ali
KARACHI (AFP) - Pakistan's cricket board was Sunday forced to deny reports of rifts within the country's cricketing establishment, insisting that coach Waqar Younis had resigned for purely medical reasons.
Waqar, 39, said Saturday he would step down over medical concerns after Pakistan's tour of Zimbabwe this month, but the troubled national team has also been riven by in-fighting and corruption scandals.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in an English-language statement Sunday, "PCB considers it appropriate to rebut the reports in certain media suggesting that resignation of Waqar... is due to some differences with PCB officials or the selection committee."
Local media reports have indicated Waqar may be suffering from a liver ailment.
The departing coach also denied reports that in-fighting had led to his departure.
"When you work as a team there can be a difference of opinion but that happens anywhere. I want to reiterate again that my resignation is purely for personal reasons and all other suggestions are totally unfounded," he said.
"I enjoyed my tenure and will be available again to serve Paksitan as soon as I settle my personal problems."
The former paceman, who also captained the team during an illustrious career, took over as coach in March 2010. Under his guidance, Pakistan defied the odds to reach the 2011 World Cup semi-final, where they lost to eventual champions India.
But his tenure also coincided with a spot-fixing scandal that led to lengthy bans for three players, while a public spat with former one-day captain Shahid Afridi ended with Afridi's retirement and manager Intikhab Alam blaming both men for problems within the team.
PCB chief operating officer Subhan Ahmad said: "Waqar contacted the board a few days back and requested to be relieved for personal reasons, pertaining to his health.
"Although it was a tough decision for the board to make, we understand his position."
Pakistan plays a practice game, one Test, three one-day internationals and two Twenty20 internationals on its tour of Zimbabwe this month.
The PCB will need to find a replacement fast, as Pakistan is set to play Sri Lanka in October-November, tour Bangladesh in December and play England in early 2012.
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