Pakistan news July 18, 2010

Afridi aims for World Cup glory

Cricinfo staff

Shahid Afridi has set his sights on captaining Pakistan to World Cup glory in 2011 having quit Test cricket after leading his team to a 150-run defeat against Australia at Lord's.

Salman Butt replaced Afridi as Test captain and will lead the side in Pakistan's next Test against Australia at Headingley and their four Tests against England. Afridi will return to captain the side in September for the two Twenty20 and five ODI games against England.

Afridi said he wanted to use the series as a springboard for success in the 50-over World Cup in Asia next February and March. "I took a decision which I felt was right and now all my concentration is on the limited-overs series against England, which will be our first step towards winning next year's World Cup," he said. "England have been doing very well in both ODIs and T20s, so if we could beat them it would be good for the progress of the team.

"I have won the World Twenty20, beaten England and India in Tests at home and have achieved some other milestones as well, but before I leave the game I want to win the World Cup."

Now free of Test commitments, Afridi may join Hampshire if they qualify for the quarter-finals stage of the Friends Provident t20 tournament in England. "I had to abandon the contract with Hampshire because I was here for the Test series, but now they want me to play the last three matches of the Twenty20, provided they qualify."

Afridi was originally named captain in the wake of Pakistan's winless tour of Australia last year, which resulted in bans, which were subsequently overturned, for a number of high-profile players including former captains Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik.

The team was beset with dressing-room fractions then, and there was speculation that the same thing had prompted Afridi's retirement this time round, but he rubbished the claims.

"This team was unified and there were no problems, nothing. I took the decision in the best interest of the team and hope a youngster with a Test temperament takes my position. I also feel that there are other players who are not fit for the longer version of the game and my advice to them is to concentrate on the shorter forms."