The Wahab Riaz-Yasir Shah altercation has not affected the team’s unity, Pakistan’s team management has said © AFP
Yasir Shah and Wahab Riaz were involved in a minor altercation during training on the eve of the first Test against Australia in Brisbane, an incident that has been played down by Pakistan’s management.
The players were on opposite teams for a practice football game and confronted each other after a tackle. Eye witnesses confirmed that Yasir and Wahab had to be separated from each other by coach Mickey Arthur and then sent off the field.
Pakistan’s team management confirmed that the incident did occur, but insisted it wasn’t “serious.”
“Both [players] had an exchange of words but it wasn’t serious,” media manager Amjad Hussain Bhatti told ESPNcricinfo. “Both were playing football and naturally while tackling one got pushed. So that [altercation] was mainly [in] the heat of the moment.
“Both [players] were immediately separated to avoid it going any further. But now, they are both fine and have apologised to each other too. They have realised that this incident could have been avoided.”
No disciplinary action is expected to be taken and Hussain added that the team’s unity has not been affected in any way, an assessment backed up by a couple of players in the side who also confirmed the incident was nothing serious. “This incident won’t affect the team unity,” Hussain said. “There is no element of seriousness in it at all. The unity of the team is as cohesive as ever and in good spirit.”
The pair appeared in a video later, denying there were any issues. Wahab added that he and Yasir were “very good friends”.
Pakistani fans will not be unfamiliar with such training ground incidents. During the 2003 World Cup, Younis Khan and Inzamam-ul-Haq clashed, infamously, during yet another game of football in which a tackle had gone wrong. The most serious altercation, however, came in a dressing room in 2007, when Shoaib Akhtar struck Mohammad Asif with a bat in Johannesburg, in the run-up to the World Twenty20.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent. @kalson
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo