PAKISTAN’S limited-overs captain Shahid Afridi last night described Yasir Hameed as having the mental age of an adolescent.
Thirty-two-year-old Hameed was quoted in yesterday morning’s News of the World, accusing his Pakistan team-mates of trying to lose matches for apparent financial gain, although he later released a statement insisting he was only repeating allegations he read in the newspapers.
But Afridi, whose team lost yesterday’s NatWest International Twenty20 opener against England in Cardiff by five wickets, claims Hameed – not part of the current limited-overs squad – is an unpredictable character.
“I think he is 30, 31. But mentally he is 15, 16,” he said.
Asked whether Hameed can be unreliable, he added: “Yeah, the people know which type of character he is.”
Hameed played in the final two Tests of this summer’s series against England, which ended at Lord’s.
It was during that match that News of the World claims surfaced – alleging Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were part of a plot to assist illegal bookmakers by arranging to bowl no-balls to order.
All three have since been charged and suspended by the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit (ACSU).
A follow-up report in the tabloid quoted opening batsman Hameed, apparently incensed at his team-mates’ behaviour. Afridi added: “I don’t know with whom he was sitting or in which situation he gave this message.
“I don’t know, but we have known him for a long time and we can expect anything from him.
“He has been doing these type of things a lot of times.”
Hameed’s statement was read out by a spokesman on the steps of the Pakistan High Commission.
In it, he explains the circumstances in which he spoke to a News of the World reporter – whom he did not recognise as such at the time, because he was under the impression he was being offered a sponsorship deal rather than asked for an interview.
“Naturally, I was interested in what he had to say – and we began a conversation,” he recalls in the statement.
“He offered me at least £50,000 for the deal.
“As I saw him as a friend and a potential agent, I naively started to answer his questions.
“As far as I recall, I only told him whatever I had already read in the newspapers about the matter.”
Hameed said he later received a mobile phone text from the man, which read: “Please call me. Incidentally you are on video drinking wine and saying all the quotes.
“Denying it is just stupid, and we will be releasing the video to TV. Better that you just stand up and speak the truth.”
This morning, the News of the World also claimed a fourth Pakistan player – unnamed “for legal reasons” – is being investigated by the ACSU.
The world governing body are unable to confirm or deny the existence of work being undertaken by the ACSU.
Meanwhile, England’s Paul Collingwood hailed another “great performance” after seeing his side overcome a mid-innings wobble to complete the victory as man-of-the-match Michael Yardy (35) and Eoin Morgan (38) steered the hosts to their victory target of 127 inside 18 overs at the SWALEC Stadium.
From 62 for five at the halfway point, after losing four wickets for 20 runs, England regrouped to post a victory that was always on the cards after their bowlers restricted the tourists to a low total from their 20 overs.
T20 skipper Collingwood was delighted with the display, saying: “That was another great performance. At the moment we have a strategy that seems to be working.
“The bowlers have been absolutely fantastic to keep Pakistan down to a total like that. It was always going to be quite gettable.
“We had a little bit of a hiccup there, losing a few early wickets, but Morgs and Yards were outstanding at the end.”
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