Karachi: Pakistan's flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi has lambasted former Cricket Board Chairman Ijaz Butt for suggesting that Muhammad Hafeez and head coach Dav Whatmore had formed a nexus against Test and one-day captain Misbah-ul-Haq in the national team.
"I think everyone knows the scandals that came about when Butt was heading the board. It is better he stop giving such damaging statements about the team and rest at home at his age," Afridi said.
Although Butt didn't mention or make any reference to Afridi in his statement in which he claimed that national Twenty20 captain Hafeez and Whatmore had put Misbah under pressure and were trying to oust him from the team but Afridi lashed out at the former Chairman.
"Everyone knows that it was during his time that the spot fixing scandal hit Pakistan cricket and hurt our image badly. Even at that time Butt mishandled the issue. There were other controversies in his tenure which didn't help Pakistan cricket at all. So he should now stop giving statements as he has played his innings as board Chairman. It is better he now rests at home," Afridi added.
Butt had called on the board to remove Whatmore and appoint a local coach and also sack Hafeez as captain and either make Misbah the national T20 captain again or give this responsibility to Shoaib Malik. Misbah and Hafeez held an impromptu joint press conference on the same day that Butt's statement appeared in a newspaper and denied there was any rift between them.
Afridi also insisted there were no problems in the team.
"I think everything is fine when the board respects the players and gives them their due because the sport is because of the players. I know there is no difference between Misbah and Hafeez and there is unity in the team. Everyone gets along well with each other. Such statements not only damage our image but also hurt the team badly," he said.
It was during Butt's tenure in 2011 that Afridi announced his retirement from cricket protesting against the board's decision to sack him as the one-day and T20 captain after the West Indies tour during which a rift emerged between Afridi and head coach Waqar Younis over selection issues.
Afridi only returned to cricket after Butt was replaced by Zaka Ashraf as Chairman of the board in October, 2011.
"The present Chairman, Zaka Ashraf has done a lot for Pakistan cricket and the team and he has taken every step to ensure there is always unity in the team," Afridi added.