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May 22, 2010
News : Shahid Afridi to lead in Asia Cup and England tour
News : Afridi reverses retirement decision
News : Afridi announces 'retirement' from Tests
Players/Officials: Shahid Afridi
Pakistan allrounder and Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi has announced he is ready to return to Tests, nearly four years after he last played the game's longest format. Afridi said the forthcoming 'home' series against England and Australia, all in England, prompted his decision to return.
"I am ready to play Test cricket because I feel that my country needs me and in this time of need I would not let my team and the country down," Afridi told AFP. "My father was ill and my family wanted more attention from me so I was mainly focusing on the shorter forms of the game, but now we have to play six Tests in England and my team needs me, so I am available."
Afridi, who has scored 1683 runs in 26 Tests, announced a surprise 'temporary retirement' from Tests in 2006 as he couldn't withstand the pressures of being an international cricketer. He added he wanted to concentrate on the game's shortest formats, but changed his mind less than a fortnight later after the then PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan and coach Bob Woolmer persuaded him to reverse his decision. However, the tour of England that summer was his last Test outing with Pakistan.
He was appointed Twenty20 captain after Younis Khan announced his retirement from the format following Pakistan's triumph the ICC World Twenty20 in England last year. Back then, he was rather reluctant to return to the Test side. He could be in the running for the ODI captaincy for the Asia Cup, but the PCB has announced they will announce the captain on May 25.
The indefinite bans imposed on Mohammad Yousuf and Younis, and the one-year ban on Shoaib Malik, has left the team with a dearth of senior players, and Afridi has stepped in to add experience to the side. Although better known for his batting, the allrounder plans to devote more attention to his bowling this time around. "I will focus more on my bowling as I think I can contribute more in this department than batting in the longer version of the game."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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