Pakistan news November 3, 2011

Afridi 'strong, fit and in good shape'


Shahid Afridi has said he is "strong, fit and in good shape" to come back from the "wild period" he spent out of the Pakistan limited-overs sides due to his conditional retirement.

Afridi had made himself available for selection after Zaka Ashraf succeeded Ijaz Butt as PCB chairman and was named on Wednesday in the ODI and Twenty20 squads for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka in the UAE. His selection came hours after he met with Ashraf in Lahore.

"I found Zaka a very cooperative person," Afridi said. "Though he is not a cricketer, I feel he can understand cricketers' problems and is good at managing things. I feel he will do the best for the interests of cricket in the country."

Afridi last played for Pakistan in the West Indies in May, when he had a public falling-out with the coach Waqar Younis. He was replaced by Misbah-ul-Haq as captain in the limited-overs formats, after which he announced his retirement, saying that he would not play for Pakistan under that administration. Waqar subsequently resigned as coach after the tour of Zimbabwe and Butt ended his term as PCB chairman in October, clearing the way for Afridi's comeback. Afridi said he still had "a lot to offer".

"It's obviously very tough to be out in such a manner. It indeed was a very difficult time and I am happy that I am back," Afridi said. "I am strong, fit and in good shape to cover the wild period I had lost during the time of retirement.

"I was well supported by the seniors in the team and also by Misbah, which is really good. Now I am ready to contribute in the team as a senior player."

Afridi had wasted no time in pushing his case, requesting a meeting with Zaka on the day the new PCB chairman took office. The selectors, too, wasted little time in picking the allrounder.

"I met with Afridi before his selection and we had a positive meeting," interim chief selector Mohammad Ilyas said. "He is like a son to me and I believe his selection isn't unfair."

Though he hasn't played international cricket for five months, Afridi has not been short of match practice. He played for Hampshire in the Friends Life t20 in England. "I am not rusty at all as I kept myself busy playing cricket," he said. "I am focusing on maintaining my all-round abilities. I had a successful county stint, which gave me ample confidence of doing well in both departments."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Muhammad on November 5, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    Afridi just Pl focus on the game rather than comments. your game will itself describe your fitness. good luck

  • Dummy4 on November 4, 2011, 15:34 GMT

    BOOm BooM Welcome back.We Love You.

  • Dummy4 on November 4, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    At least a good diction made by Pakistan selection comity. But Sayed Azmal shoul be preferable instead of Abdur Rahman. But overall good squad.

  • Salman on November 4, 2011, 7:38 GMT

    Afridi took us to the Semis of WC? What then? What kind of a skipper changes the bowler straight after he has the opposition under the cosh? Afridi immediately switched Ajmal after "that over" in which he had Tendulkar completely flummoxed, and Wahab after his double-wicket over. Why?

  • Dummy4 on November 4, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    @babloo should involve in providing him a proper name, rather than criticizing others. hehehe BABLOO

  • Dummy4 on November 4, 2011, 7:25 GMT

    @ Ryan Philip Rightly said :)

  • Ameer on November 4, 2011, 5:04 GMT

    Whatever the world says, but Afridi is certainly a man whithout whom Cricket had no meaning, no fun and no attraction. Many ppl have not followed cricket since the conditional retirement of Afridi and are now following it after the refcomming. @ Muzammil Saeed: I am also in the same club!

  • Dummy4 on November 4, 2011, 1:28 GMT

    naughty, naughty! I love Afridi...

  • Dummy4 on November 3, 2011, 23:52 GMT

    @Faizan Hussain look dude I m not denying his talent but most of the time he lacks the maturity of a captain, like Ponting or Dhoni. He has been close but losses his concentration to finish.

  • Dummy4 on November 3, 2011, 21:35 GMT

    @ICCexpert, i think your team lacks consistency. We don't want our batting to collapse on most of the occasion. Your middle order looks very bleak. We dearly need the services of Misbah and Younis. I think u need to check the facts as well. Misbah averages 90 plus since last year in tests and 60 plus in the one dayers. He has proved to be a solid batsman. Further to be stated, i did not understand how have u missed out the 2nd ranked t20 bowler and the 6th ranked 50 over bowler of the world Saeed Ajmal. Yes Awais Zia played well in the faysal bank t20, but can you play him in the Pakistan side on the basis of a single performance and that too of a t20 game? I think you are mistaken, do u feel the same? :D

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