KARACHI: Former captain Shahid Afridi is confident of making a successful comeback in the One-Day Internationals (ODI), targeting key performances in the upcoming five-match ODI series against South Africa.
Afridi’s recall in the team drew criticism from several quarters as the seasoned all-rounder showed little signs of form in the recent Pakistan A matches against Afghanistan.
The all-rounder was dropped from the team for ODIs against India after spate of failures last year in the format.
The chief selector Iqbal Qasim described the recall of the charismatic all-rounder as his ‘last chance’, heralding that failure to perform again might bring Afridi’s career in the format to an end.
However, according to a close aide, Afridi was concentrating on doing well in South Africa.
“Afridi is highly confident,” the aide told The Express Tribune. “He is not thinking about failure and its repercussions. Afridi loves to take challenges and has performed under such circumstances in the past. He wants to justify his selection by making another successful comeback against the Proteas.”
While Afridi was preferred for his bowling, the aide said he was targeting to shine as an all-rounder.
“He has been working hard to improve in both departments. Although, he wasn’t impressive against Afghanistan but he is optimistic of playing tough cricket against a tough opposition.
“Right now he is focusing on the two twenty20 games because a good performance in these matches will lift his confidence for the ODIs.”
Mohsin delighted with Afridi’s comeback
Meanwhile, former coach Mohsin Khan has backed Afridi’s selection, terming it a boost for the team, which has struggled in the Test series.
“I am happy that he is back,” said Mohsin. “The selection committee should not have dropped him for the India ODIs as well. Afridi may be inconsistent but he is a match winning all-rounder. When he performs, majority of the times team ends with a win.”
The former coach slammed the ‘last chance’ mantra of the chief selector.
“It was a childish comment. If you are giving a chance to a player then you should boost his confidence rather damaging it by giving such statements.
Afridi is a fighter and has been working hard to maintain his fitness. I wish him success and the entire team for the limited-overs series.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2013.
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