Shahid Afridi has said one of his immediate priorities as Pakistan's new captain is to ensure his players aren't guilty of any unruly behaviour while on tour. Pakistan cricket has had its reputation in tatters of late with a history of infighting within the team and Afridi sent out a warning to his team-mates before departing for the Asia Cup that any indiscipline will not be tolerated.
The squad for the tournament in Sri Lanka includes two controversial players in Shoaib Malik and Shoaib Akhtar, who have been accused of either flouting team rules or creating rifts within the team. Afridi said he had a word with both in particular and expected them to set a better example going forward.
"In the training camp I spoke to Shoaib and also Malik and explained the new set of rules that we expect them to follow in the team," Afridi told reporters in Lahore." I explained that being senior players I require their support to introduce a new culture in the team.
"The board has also made it clear that the captain and manager have full authority to take action against any player they feel is getting out of line."
Pakistan's turbulent tour of Australia earlier this year resulted in several senior players, including Afridi, being fined or banned indefinitely for various offenses. After the players appealed, the PCB reduced and wrote off the punishments of five players. The indefinite ban on former captain Younis Khan was lifted, Malik's one-year ban was removed, the Rs 3 million fine on captain Afridi, for ball-tampering, was revoked entirely, while the fines on the Akmal brothers for acts of indiscipline were reduced.
Following the retirement of Mohammad Yousuf, who was also banned indefinitely, Afridi was appointed captain in all formats for the Asia Cup and the tour of England. Aiming to make a fresh start, Afridi called on his players to put the past behind them and perform.
"We have enormous talent and we have some exciting new players coming up. I am confident that if we play as a unit we can beat any team in the world."