Pakistan in South Africa 2012-13 February 20, 2013

Shahid Afridi makes ODI comeback

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Shahid Afridi has made a comeback to Pakistan's ODI squad for the series in South Africa, after being omitted for the tour of India in December last year. The selectors chose him because of his previous success as a legspinner against South Africa, despite him being out of form at present. Batsman Asad Shafiq and spinner Abdur Rehman were the other inclusions for the five-match series that begins on March 10.

The players left out from the ODI squad that went to India were Anwar Ali, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail and Zulfiqar Babar. There was only one change to the Twenty20 squad, with Wahab Riaz replacing Sohail Tanvir, who was part of the team that had travelled to India.

The inclusion of Afridi generated plenty of debate and the chief selector Iqbal Qasim had to answer a barrage of questions. Qasim said that this series was Afridi's "last chance and he has to perform."

"He [Afridi] played against Afghanistan, basically we wanted to assess his fitness and he is fully fit," Qasim said. "They [South Africa] are playing well against fast bowling and our pacers are struggling, so having variety in spin will prove beneficial. The decision to pick Afridi is based on his quality of right-arm leg spin.

"I am not saying go and play him in the XI, my mind says we have to have some variety. Our task is to select the best lot to play against South Africa and Afridi has a role to play with his variety in his bowling."

Afridi was dropped from the ODI squad last year due to his poor form both with ball and bat. In his last 12 international innings across ODIs and T20s, he averaged 7.00 with the bat. He failed to make an impact for Pakistan A and the Hyderbad-Karachi team in the recently concluded home games against an Afghanistan XI. However, he is the most successful Pakistan spinner against South Africa, with 26 wickets in 27 ODIs.

Riaz, 27, last played for Pakistan 11 months ago in the Asia Cup but is having a productive ongoing first-class season. He was selected for the recent tour of India but did not play a game. He was preferred over Aizaz Cheema and replaced Tanvir in the T20 squad because of his ability to bowl over 140 kph.

ODI squad: Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul, Imran Farhat, Abdur Rehman.

Twenty20 squad: Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul, Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Amin, Zulfiqar Babar, Asad Ali, Junaid Khan.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on February 23, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    I think In ODI we are missing a fast bowling alrounders.Anwar Ali is better then injured Junaid Khan.My batting line up in ODI Hafiz, Nasir Jamshed,,AsadShafiq,Younus,Umer Akmal,Misbah,Kamran Akmal, Saeed, Ajmal,Umer Gul,Junaid khan.You can include Afridi in place of Umer Akmal if you are afraid of one bowler short.

  • dummy4fb on February 23, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    Pakistan need him as a more batman in SA.he s good at pace.but steyn is good than every man

  • Riz000 on February 23, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    Guys Guys listen Shahid afridi is to old and blind to see the ball he is bad influence on young players like umer akmal asad extt plz plz 4 sake of Pakistan's future get rid of this guy forever he is nt a cricketer just a slog er

  • dummy4fb on February 23, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    It's a shame that Afridi, Farhat and Younis Khan are getting picked ahead of young talents such as Hamad Azam, Fawad Alam and Haris Sohail. They most likely won't get picked for the side until they're in their early-mid 30s.

  • Uzi-Khan on February 22, 2013, 21:06 GMT

    Once again the PCB are proving their stupidity by picking a wasted all rounder and two of the most ridiculous players in recent years (Akmals).

    I feel bad for Anwar Ali, Fawad Alam and Hammad Azam. Its pathetic that these brilliant performers wont play for Pakistan due to this pathetic politics.

    South Africa, please beat Pakistan 5-0 so that they will learn for good that this old useless players are not worthwhile.

  • dummy4fb on February 22, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    Shoaib Malik Again You gotta be kidding me

  • SheikhNaveed on February 22, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    SUGGESTED CHANGES IN ODI squad: AHMAD SHAHZAD (i/p of Kamran Akmal .. Umar Akmal to keep wickets) , Aizaz Cheema (i/p of Umar Gul ... rest / rotation), ZULFIQAR BABAR (i/p of Imran Farhat ... level playing field for him and A Rahman AND test SA bowlers against quality left arm leg spin), Abdur Rehman. ... Summary : 8 batsmen; 6 bowlers' 1 Afridi

    ANNOUNCED ODI squad: Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul, Imran Farhat, Abdur Rehman.

    Twenty20 squad: One change Aizaz Cheema ( i/p of Junaid Khan ... rest for health & fitness)

  • Kashif.Anwar on February 22, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    Afridi is a good inclusion to the side. I don't know why people emphasises on his batting only. He is one of the best leg spinner in the current players, a good fielder and a lively presence in the field. His batting is just a plus which if clicks, is another value added to his brilliant talent.

  • dummy4fb on February 22, 2013, 1:43 GMT

    I have lost all my faith and trust in the PCB selectors, still they continue to pick Misbah and Afridi in ODI's, I think they should look at newer younger talent such As Fawad Alam and Hammad Azam, AND WHAT ABOUT RAZZAQ AND YOUSUF????? Still they continue to neglect them when they have done nothing wrong while continually rewarding Afridi and Misbah.

  • pak78 on February 22, 2013, 0:15 GMT

    welcome back boom boom u sure have been missed looking forward to seeing u bk in action pcb shuld use u and razor razzak in every t2o international until u hang your boots up and in odi aswell bring jamshed no3 and hafeez no 4 in batting order or is that a wishfull thinking .........................................................