Religion cause of Pakistan World Cup debacle: official
Apr 7, 2007 - 4:33:47 PM

Lahore, April 7 - Too much of 'praying and preaching' shifted the Pakistan team's focus away from the game, leading to its early exit from the World Cup, the team's media manager has alleged.

The team members' over-indulgence in religious activities rather than focussing on the game resulted in the dismal show, P.J. Mir, the team's media manager, said Friday after recording a statement before the Performance Evaluation Committee - on the factors responsible for the squad's poor performance.

'I could not disclose this fact before, but today I inform the media that most of the members had no focus on cricket. Their fixation was on preaching, affecting the team's preparations,' he was quoted by the Dawn as saying.

'The boys were up against the most challenging task of proving their skills in the prestigious World Cup tournament, but I am sorry to say they had no drive for the game and were much more active in preaching and praying,' the media manager said.

Reminded that captain Inzamam-ul-Haq had dismissed such speculations at a press conference last week, Mir said it would not have been an issue with him or anybody had it been 'done within reasonable limits'.

'I have video footage which will prove me right and I will hand over those tapes to the PCB -,' he said. 'It was beyond limits, this religious influence, and the players were even made to offer prayers during the flights.'

On coach Bob Woolmer's mysterious death in the Caribbean March 18, the media manager said he could not have been murdered, as all his - belongings were intact.

Mir's bold statement is seen by critics as an attempt to check the growing religious extremism in the country's cricket amid reports that the PCB has devised a plan to rid the team of religious extremists, the newspaper said.

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