Shahid Afridi is not sulking after being overlooked for captaincy after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided to stick with Misbahul Haq for the 50-over format while handing Mohammad Hafeez the captain’s arm-band for the shortest format of the game.
The experienced all-rounder and former captain was a leading candidate to replace Misbah but had vowed to back Hafeez after the snub. Afridi retired from Test cricket one match into his comeback in 2010 after being handed the reigns by Ijaz Butt. He issued a conditional retirement last year in protest of the PCB stripping him of captaincy in One-Day Internationals and Twenty20s.
“No doubt leading a national side is a big honour,” Afridi, who has played 342 ODIs and 48 Twenty20s, told The Express Tribune. “But I have no complaints and am ready to play for Pakistan under any captain whether it is Misbah, Shoaib Malik or Hafeez. My aim is to play for my country which is a huge honour. I wish Hafeez the best of luck with his role. I have supported him in crisis before and he will have all my support as the captain again.
“These players have played under me and I have no issues playing under them.”
Hopes to repeat form against Sri Lanka
Afridi said he was not desperate for captaincy and preparing for the Sri Lanka tour was his only focus in the recent days.
“I had a bad series against England but I recovered in the Asia Cup. Now I am looking for an improved show and eyeing key contribution for Pakistan.”
The all-rounder picked up the man-of-the-series award in the ODI series against Sri Lanka in the UAE – his first series after reversing his conditional retirement – including an all-round match-winning show in Sharjah where he scored a half-century and took five wickets.
“I am working very hard and never miss my training. Hopefully, I’ll do well against Sri Lanka once again,” said Afridi before endorsing the PCB’s decision to name separate teams for all formats, hoping for improved results.
No bowling coach named in tour list
The PCB named a nine-member team management for the tour of Sri Lanka but fell short of confirming whether a bowling coach will be selected or not. While a PCB official confirmed that the squad may proceed without one, the coach hunt committee chief Intikhab Alam was not available for comment. Naveed Akram Cheema was retained as manager while Shahid Aslam will be his deputy.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2012.
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