Champions Trophy: Pakistan team's next challenge? How to avoid hostility at home

It has been learnt that several Pakistan players are yet to take their flight back home and may return in small groups to avoid a possible fans' backlash after a dull outing in the Champions Trophy.

Updated: June 16, 2013 19:53 IST
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Fearing hostile reception after their disastrous campaign at the Champions Trophy in England, some members of the Pakistan cricket team have decided to take their time in returning home.

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Sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board said that until now (at the time of filing this report) only Abdul Rehman, Kamran Akmal, Wahab Riaz, Asad Shafiq and Muhammad Irfan were scheduled to return home tonight from London. (Also read: Key moments from India's win vs Pakistan)

"The remaining players will come later on while head coach, Dav Whatmore will be stopping over in Dubai while the rest of the coaching staff will also come later," one source said. (Related: 'Imran Khan has damaged Pakistan cricket')

The source said some players might even stay back to play some league cricket in England.

But generally the feeling is the players will prefer to return in small groups unannounced to avoid any hostile reception.

In the past whenever, Pakistan has done badly they have come back to strong reactions from the media and public. (Also read: Giants of cricket but toothless in aggression)

All indications are that in next few days some of the players and even the management might find themselves out in the cold in the first reaction to Pakistan's poor show in England, where they lost all their three matches against South Africa, West Indies and arch-rivals India.

"Certainly Kamran Akmal, Imran Farhat, Shoaib Malik and perhaps even Muhammad Hafeez might have to face the axe before Pakistan's next series which is against West Indies from July 7," one source said.

PCB chief Zaka Ashraf has also been suspended by the Islamabad High Court from performing his duties due to a constitutional writ petition filed against his election in May this year.

Under this circumstances, sources say Pakistan head coach Dav Whatmore might also be asked to leave midway through his two year contract with the board since he has also been criticized strongly for his failure to do anything notable with the team since taking over in March, 2012.

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