Karachi: Official version blamed it on a sore knee but the real reason behind Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf's absence from Sunday's fifth ODI against Australia was a bitter row with coach Intikhab Alam over selection issues, sources in the team have claimed.
According to sources, trouble was brewing for a while in the Pakistan camp with Yousuf and Intikhab don't agree with each other on team strategies in a series that Pakistan trails 0-4.
"Before the match itself the management had advised Yousuf to take a rest from the fifth match so that Shahid Afridi could lead the team and get some captaincy exposure before the Twenty20 match against Australia next week," one source said.
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"But Yousuf flatly refused and insisted he would continue playing. Earlier also he had differences with the coaching staff when he wanted promote Shahid Afridi up the order and allow Younis Khan to bat lower down the order as he was struggling for form, but again Intikhab refused," the source said.
He said matters came to a head just before the toss today when there were differences over team selection and Younis playing in the match.
"Apparently there were differences over the issue of dropping Younis Khan and Kamran Akmal for the match after which Yousuf had an argument with Intikhab and Waqar and refused to go for the toss or lead the team," the source disclosed.
Sources said after the altercation, Intikhab asked Afridi to go for the toss and captain the side.
"But clearly the tour is coming to an end on a sour note as problems within the team are becoming clear and it is not a good sign for Pakistan cricket," another source said.
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He said number of players including Yousuf were unhappy with Intikhab, a former test captain who has been coach since November, 2008.
"The players want a change as they are sensing that after the disastrous Australian tour either their heads will roll or they convince the board to change the management," the source stated.