On public demand, Pakistan limited-overs captain Shahid Afridi has expressed availability for the upcoming Caribbean tour that also includes a One-Day International (ODI) series against the hosts.
Following the semi-final loss against India, Afridi hinted he would take a break from the tour, citing a hectic schedule that has seen Pakistan tour England before playing a ODI series against South Africa followed by a series in New Zealand and the World Cup.
However, the all-rounder, who was the joint leading wicket-taker of the World Cup with India’s Zaheer Khan, has changed his mind.
“I wanted to rest but I’ve changed my mind,” Afridi told The Express Tribune. “I’m available and will leave with the team for the West Indies tour.”
‘Fans’ pressure changed decision’
The Pakistan World Cup hero said pressure by fans forced him to change the decision.
“I’ve been receiving messages since I said that I wanted to withdraw from the tour.
“But I have to change the decision as my supporters want me to play.” The tour starts from April 18 with a warm-up game and comprises a five-match ODI series and two Tests besides a Twenty20.
Delighted on being named in the World Cup team
Meanwhile, Afridi was also happy after he was selected in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2011 team of the tournament. He is the only Pakistani to feature in the 12-man squad.
“It’s a great feeling to be among the best in the world,” said Afridi. “I am happy to be in the team and looking forward to continue performing for Pakistan.”
A five-member panel selected the team including former South Africa wicket-keeper and the ICC General Manager David Richardson, ICC Elite Panel umpire Aleem Dar and ICC Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle besides a couple of senior journalists.
World Cup finalists India (3) and Sri Lanka (4) contributed a total of seven players to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 team of the tournament while there is a player each from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand apart from Pakistan’s Afridi in the 12-man squad. Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara was named the captain and wicket-keeper of the team.
ICC World Cup 2011
Sachin Tendulkar (Ind)
Tillakaratne Dilshan (SL)
Kumar Sangakkara (SL)
Mahela Jayawardena (SL)
AB de Villiers (SA)
Yuvraj Singh (Ind)
Shane Watson (Aus)
Shahid Afridi (Pak)
Dale Steyn (SA)
Zaheer Khan (Ind)
Muttiah Muralidaran (SL)
12th man: Tim Southee (NZ)
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2011.