Pakistan news September 16, 2014

Afridi to lead Pakistan in Twenty20s again

Shahid Afridi has been appointed Pakistan's Twenty20 captain until the 2016 World T20 in India. He has succeeded Mohammad Hafeez, who stood down in April following Pakistan's early exit from the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh.

ESPNcricinfo understands the choice was between a young player and an experienced hand, but it was decided that none of the youngsters in the team were ready for such a responsibility. The decision was taken with the consent of the selection committee, head coach Waqar Younis and the PCB cricket committee, and it was approved by the PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, who has the final say in such matters.

"Whatever happened in the past is over and now I have started a new beginning," Afridi said of his relationship with Waqar. "I will develop a fearless approach in the players and eradicate the fear of loss as a captain. This format is not for the chicken-hearted player"

Afridi, 34, had captained Pakistan in 19 Twenty20 internationals between August 2009 and April 2011. Pakistan won eight and lost 11 matches under his leadership. Afridi has not led Pakistan in any format for more than three years and will have one match against Australia and two against New Zealand before the year ends. Over the last 12 months, Afridi has taken 10 wickets at an average of 26.80 in 11 T20 internationals, and scored 173 runs at a strike rate of 150.

Misbah-ul-Haq is Pakistan's Test and one-day international captain and he is expected to continue in the 50-over role until the 2015 World Cup, the PCB reaffirmed while announcing Afridi's appointment.

"In line with my policy of taking decisions democratically I consulted the Cricket Committee and my board members before announcing these decisions," PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said. "I wish both Afridi and Misbah very good luck in their upcoming assignments."

Afridi's previous stint as captain ended on a bad note in May 2011. He had a public falling-out with the coach Waqar Younis, who was also in his first term at the time, and an outburst against the then PCB chairman Ijaz Butt. The PCB issued him a showcause notice for the breach of discipline and stripped him off the captaincy thereafter.

The board also excluded him from the list of contracted players and refused to issue no-objection certificates (NOC) to allow Afridi to play in domestic Twenty20 leagues. Afridi, however, took the matter to court and both sides eventually came to an agreement: Afridi pleaded guilty to misconduct and paid a fine of Rupees 4.5 million, and the PCB allowed him to play domestic Twenty20 cricket in England.

Afridi then announced a conditional retirement, saying he would return if there were changes in the PCB and the team management. He made himself available for selection again in October 2011, after Waqar quit as national coach and Zaka Ashraf replaced Butt as PCB chairman.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

Comments