Coach Grant Bradburn, on Monday, downplayed concerns about his players not receiving salaries for the past five months, emphasizing the team’s determination to salvage their faltering World Cup campaign.
Pakistan is teetering on the brink of an early group stage exit in the tournament and must secure a victory against Bangladesh on Tuesday to keep their slim hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive.
In addition to suffering four defeats in six games so far, Pakistan’s World Cup journey has been marred by disputes over payment issues and delays in central contract agreements.
On Monday, three players within the squad confirmed to AFP that they had not received their payments. Bradburn responded, saying, “In terms of the noise around the team, look, playing for Pakistan and working within this team is a huge privilege.”
He continued, “To prepare ourselves and give our best are the things that we focus on, the things within our control, and there are great expectations, and we’re desperate to make our nation proud.”
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has stated that contracts have been sent to India, and the players have signed them. The PCB claims that this should pave the way for the pending payments to be sorted out.
Former New Zealand all-rounder Bradburn expressed the team’s disappointment with their disappointing World Cup performance, with wins against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka followed by losses to India, Australia, Afghanistan, and South Africa.
“We’re in a position that we didn’t want to be in,” said Bradburn, whose team also has a poor net run-rate of -0.38. “We were determined at this stage of the tournament to be in control of our destiny, but we’re not.”
He added, “That hurts the group, and all we can do now is control what we can control, prepare well for the three remaining pool games, and hope that fate leans in our favor in terms of our semi-final hopes.”
The financial challenges facing the squad are compounded by their ban from participating in the Indian Premier League, a lucrative T20 franchise league that has turned players from other countries into instant millionaires. Bradburn, however, stated that the financial disparity is not a concern for the team, saying, “We don’t feel isolated or intimidated by that.”
Regarding a recent contentious umpiring decision, Bradburn refrained from criticizing umpire Alex Wharf, who rejected a leg-before decision against South Africa’s Tabraiz Shamsi off Haris Rauf, with just eight runs needed for victory in the team’s last game. A review ultimately upheld the decision as “umpire’s call,” and South Africa secured a nail-biting one-wicket win.
“The simple answer to that (umpire’s decision) is that we try to focus on the things we can control. The umpires control the game, and those things are unfortunate for us, but that’s part of the game,” Bradburn said.
Although Bangladesh has lost five out of six matches, they will pose a tough challenge, and a loss on Tuesday will certainly eliminate them from the tournament. Bradburn expressed respect for the Bangladesh team, despite Pakistan having won 33 one-dayers and lost just five against them. In their recent encounters, Bangladesh has won four of the last six matches. Bradburn commented, “They’re a quality group of cricketers, but we are well prepared for them.”