Karachi: Pakistan's cricket chief Tuesday blasted an "irresponsible" Shahid Afridi for creating confusion around the team captaincy and said the popular big-hitting all-rounder could face disciplinary action.
Afridi, who led Pakistan in the third and final one-day international against Australia after regular captain Misbah-ul Haq withdrew because of poor batting form, said a final decision should be made on who would lead the team.
"Misbah or me, whoever is to lead Pakistan in the World Cup he should know it now," Afridi said after Pakistan's one-run defeat which handed Australia a 3-0 series win in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan hit out at Afridi over the comments.
"Afridi's statement was irresponsible," Khan said. "We are analysing his statement to decide whether he has violated PCB's code of conduct for an action." Khan said Afridi's statement had created unnecessary doubt over the captaincy for next year's World Cup. "I have told everyone, from Misbah to head coach Waqar Younis to chief selector and manager Moin Khan, that Misbah will lead Pakistan in the World Cup," said Khan.
The PCB chief also pulled Afridi up on his form. "Now people are saying Afridi should be the captain but although his bowling has improved his batting hasn't," said Khan. "It's up to the selectors to judge and see does he (Afridi) deserve a place in the team," Khan said.
Afridi took 3-46 in Pakistan's 93-run defeat in the first one-dayer in Sharjah, his first wickets in seven one-day internationals. Afridi, who has so far played 384 one-day internationals, has made only one half century in the last 28 innings. Later Tuesday PCB issued a statement from Afridi, clarifying the issue.
"Let me state at the very outset, Misbah is the best choice as Pakistan captain for the World Cup 2015. "I have always backed him to the optimum whenever I have played under him, just as he had when I had the honour to captain the Pakistan team," Afridi was quoted as saying.
"I have already had the pride and honour to captain Pakistan several times. Trust me, it is no bed of roses, and all of us who have captained Pakistan, including Misbah, are fully aware of it. "We get nothing more out of it than pride and honour; seldom do we get bouquets but more often brickbats.
"I have said this before, and I reiterate, that I shall continue to serve Pakistan cricket and fully support Misbah to the best of my ability. "This is my final statement on the issue". PCB said no notice will be issued after Afridi's clarification.