LAHORE

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) fact finding committee, which is probing the national team’s poor show in the Asia Cup, has also been tasked to find out whether there is any groupism in the side or if any player has underperformed during the World T20.

The PCB high-ups were puzzled over the way the Pakistan team had lost to New Zealand when it appeared they were on course for a win. Even a Pakistani minister claimed that "groupism and politics" were rife in the national cricket team even as he alleged that some players had "ganged up" against captain Shahid Afridi and let him down in the World T20 match against New Zealand which Pakistan lost.

"There is a grouping in the team and this was quite visible in Pak-New Zealand match. Some Pakistani players clearly ganged up against the other (Shahid Afridi) to let him down. They performed shamelessly to play their dirty politics," said state minister for water and power Abid Sher Ali who is a close relative of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Talking to reporters here, the minister said "groupism and politics" are at its best in the Pakistan cricket team and it is high time to send home all those involved. "Shahid Afridi is also a spent force and he deserves no place in the team," Ali said and demanded that the players who performed shamefully for their "cheap" politics should be banned for life adding that "a new team should be formed after the T20 World Cup" currently underway in India.

The fact finding committee of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which is probing the National team’s poor show in the Asia Cup, has also been tasked to find out whether there is any groupism in the side or if any player has under-performed during the World T20.

According to a highly-placed source in the PCB, the committee will talk to captain Shahid Afridi, head coach, Waqar Younis, manager Intikhab Alam and some players in the World T20 squad when the team returns home from India. “The committee will also talk to the other members of the support staff including the security manager, assistant coach and batting coach Grant Flower,” the source said.

He said the PCB high-ups were puzzled over the way the Pakistan team had lost to New Zealand when it appeared they were on course for a win. “The board has taken serious notice of rumours and speculations that they could be groupings in the team and cases of some players under-performing to settle personal scores,” he added. The development comes just two days after PCB Chairman, Shaharyar Khan insisted at a press conference in Lahore that they were no groupings in the team and that the players were motivated and united.

The fact-finding committee, which includes present Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq and senior batsman Younus Khan, has already met thrice to probe into the Asia Cup debacle when Pakistan lost to India and Bangladesh. Younus had declined to attend the meetings insisting he would make an appearance after the World T20 is over.

PCB Chief Operating Officer (COO) Subhan Ahmad, former Test spinner, Iqbal Qasim and member governing board, Shakil Sheikh are other members of the committee.

The source said that Shaharyar was deeply disturbed by the way Afridi and Waqar spoke after the loss to New Zealand. “The comments made by both indicated all is not well within the team,” the source added.

Waqar blasted his players without naming anyone for their inept performances but referred particularly to Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad. Shaharyar has copped some criticism for his comments made during the World T20 when he said that the captain and coach would be changed after the event.