Afridi returns to Pakistan ODI squad
Shahid Afridi, the former Pakistan captain, has been included in the Pakistan squad for the ODIs and Twenty20 against Sri Lanka. Afridi recently came out of his self-imposed retirement following Zaka Ashraf's appointment as PCB chairman in place of Ijaz Butt. On the day he took office, Ashraf said he would meet with Afridi to discuss the situation and that he believed the allrounder still had plenty to offer the national side. The pair met earlier today and following the meeting, Afridi was back in the national side.
"I am ready to play cricket either as a player or captain," Afridi told reporters after his meeting with Ashraf. "I still have cricket left in me and a lot to offer for my country. It is always a privilege to lead the side but the captain has always been a scapegoat."
Afridi had retired in protest over the way he was treated by the PCB under Butt, following Pakistan's ODI series against the West Indies in April and May. A dispute between him and then coach Waqar Younis became public and Afridi was censured by the board and fined rupees 4.5 million ($52,300) for violating its code of conduct.
Allrounder Abdul Razzaq also returns to the squad after being dropped following Pakistan's World Cup semi-final loss to India. Razzaq missed out on Pakistan's tours of the West Indies and Zimbabwe, despite being under contract, and said he did not think his exclusion was justified given that he did not have enough opportunities to perform in the tournament.
The selectors have dropped Wahab Riaz after resting him for the tour of Zimbabwe, but Umar Gul returns to lead the attack. He will be backed up by Junaid Khan, who has impressed against Sri Lanka in the ongoing Test series, Aizaz Cheema, who has also done well since making his debut against Zimbabwe, and Sohail Tanvir.
The other major change is the selection of Sarfraz Ahmed as wicketkeeper in place of Adnan Akmal. Sarfraz has played nine one-dayers in his career, the last coming against Australia in Perth in January. The selectors had stuck with Adnan for the sake of stability, and had been concerned about Sarfraz's ability with the bat, but his domestic performances this season have convinced them to give him another shot. In four Quaid--e-Azam Trophy games, he has scored 388 runs at an average of 97.00, with two hundreds and a fifty.
Former captain and allrounder Shoaib Malik has retained his place despite struggling during the Zimbabwe series, where he averaged just 8.00 from three matches. Misbah-ul-Haq will captain the side, which will play five ODIs and one Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka, the first of which will be played on November 11.
Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Aizaz Cheema, Junaid Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Abdul Razzaq, Asad Shafiq