Controversy and Pakistani cricketers go hand in hand. Not a year goes by when star players do not end up embarrassing themselves in public. Here is a look at the top 7 controversial moments that ensured 2016 was no exception.
7. The Shehzad Riaz Scuffle
The first edition of PSL turned out to be a major hit and played a crucial part in lifting the image of Pakistani cricket world-wide. Still, the otherwise controversy-free tournament witnessed this ugly incident when during a game between Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators, Wahab Riaz and Ahmed Shahzad ended up pushing one another on the field. The then T20 captain, Shahid Afridi intervened and did a fine job in settling the matter for good.
6. The Batting Order Saga
Shahid Afridi invited Imran Khan to give a pep talk to his players during the World T20 before the all-important game against arch rivals, India in Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Umar Akmal however, had other ideas and decided to make the most of the opportunity by complaining to Imran that the team management was dealing with him in an unfair manner by not allowing him to bat higher in the batting order.
The video went viral and the episode resulted in embarrassing the entire dressing room.
5. To Retire or Not to
The year 2016 proved that Shahid Afridi’s decision making ability is as rash and complicated as his batting. First he ended up making hilarious decisions (including not playing an additional spinner on a square turner against India in World T20) during his tenure as the T20 captain and then he allowed the media and public to make fun of him by constantly changing his mind with regard to his retirement.
He had said in 2015 that he was going to retire following the World T20. However, just before the ICC event he changed his mind and said that he was uncertain. Then following Pakistan’s last game in the tournament when the Indian commentators alongside Wasim Akram were giving him an apparent farewell he explained that he was going to give up captaincy but feels that he should still play. Eventually, PCB dropped him from the touring squad to England.
After the English tour when the possibility of regaining a spot seemed bleak; Afridi once again changed his mind and contacted PCB to give him a farewell match against the West Indies so that he is able to set an example for generations to follow!
Towards the end of the year when one of the journalists inquired about the possibility of him making a comeback he replied back by saying “Hope Not Out”!!!
4. The Riaz Yasir Brawl
Wahab Riaz for the second time during 2016 found himself in a brawl with one of his team mates when just a day before the start of the Brisbane Test match pictures of him and Yasir Shah (engaged in a fight during a practice football match) went viral.
Moments following the development however, both cricketers took to social media to clear the air.
3. The “Kurian Balley Balley” Gate
Umar Akmal is no stranger to controversies and ended up embarrassing himself and other team mates yet again when against the advice of the team management during the Pakistan Cup he went to watch a theater play titled “Kurian Balley Balley” in Faisalabad.
2. When Waqar Cried Foul
Both as a cricketer and as coach Waqar Younis has had a career filled with all sorts of controversies. During his tenure as captain of Pakistan Cricket team (allegedly because of his arrogance) the environment in the dressing room went so bad that the then chairman decided to drop a number of star players including Waqar himself alongside Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar, Saqlain Mushtaq, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar and Azhar Mehmood. Only Inzamam, Afridi and Akhtar were able to re-establish their positions following the debacle.
Next, the environment in the dressing room once again went from bad to worse during his first stint as the coach when players like Shahid Afridi, Muhammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Abdul Razzaq, Shoab Malik, Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Akhtar saw themselves being dropped for one reason or the other.
Since Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has a habit of repeating history they decided to appoint Waqar as the team coach once again and saw similar results. His second tenure as coach resulted in unsettling senior players like Shahid Afridi, Muhammad Hafeez, Ahmad Shahzad and Umar Akmal. Following the World T20 earlier this year however, PCB finally decided to sack Waqar for good.
Nevertheless, the coach’s tour report was leaked to media by one of the PCB officials; something that did not go down well with Waqar who then before submitting his resignation cried foul publicly.
1. The Greedy vs The Match Fixer
Afridi and Miandad despite being super stars of the game in the country ended up behaving like toddlers when Afridi accused Miandad of being a greedy person and Miandad in reply accused him of being a match-fixer.
The episode ended with both of them apologizing to one another and exchanging sweets but not before they had clearly damaged each other’s reputation.
With only a few days to go before 2016 comes to an end we hope that the boys in green do a better PR job for themselves in 2017!