Malik squashes rumour of differences in dressing room

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Lahore, Dec 21 (UNI) Denying any rumours of any tension in the dressing room, Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik has said that there was ''no truth'' in the reports and the team was firmly behind him.

''It hurts to end the year on a disappointing note with defeats in India. But there is no truth in rumours of differences within the team,'' he said.

''The team has been playing as a unit and that is why we managed to draw the last two Tests in India. The seniors have been extending full co-operation and I am happy with my position as captain.'' Malik, who has lost his first two series as captain --South Africa and India-- after taking over the captaincy from Inzamam-ul-Haq, has faced severe criticism from several quarters.

The 25-year-old defended his team's poor performance during the recently concluded India's tour, pointing out that injuries and sickness took a heavy toll on team's performance in the series.

''It made a big difference to our performance because our bowling lacked bite. In the one-day series we fought hard and it was a close rubber. In the Delhi Test one bad session cost us the match.'' ''I try to take some positives out of the criticism. But everyone should realise that no captain likes to lose and neither does any team want to end on the losing side. But the fact is we lost in India because of some unseen problems.'' Malik denied that his performances as captain has been below par.

''Every professional cricketer when he is on the field is under pressure to perform and the same is for me. And I don't think my performance as a player has been that bad as captain. But there is a need for me to be more consistent.'' Pakistan cricket is under turmoil after an unimpressive showing during the India tour during which they lost both the one-dayers and the Test series.

UNI

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