Pakistan re-appoint Shahid Afridi as Twenty20 captain
Lahore: Pakistan on Tuesday re-appointed Shahid Afridi as their Twenty20 captain until 2016, three years after he was removed following a fall out with coach Waqar Younis and the cricket board. The 34-year-old all-rounder led Pakistan to the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 in 2010 and then to the same stage of the World Cup (50 overs) a year later. But after the tour of the West Indies in May 2011 where Pakistan won the one-day series 3-2, he developed differences with Waqar and then Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt and was removed.
Pakistan's Twenty20 captaincy has remained vacant since Mohammad Hafeez stepped down following the team's first round exit from the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in April this year. "Afridi has been announced as captain of the Pakistan T20 squad till the ICC World Twenty20 in India in 2016," the PCB said in a statement.
The PCB also said it would retain Misbah-ul-Haq as captain of the Test and one-day teams till next year's ICC World Cup amid speculation he could be sacked following a disastrous tour of Sri Lanka where they lost both Tests and the three-match one-day series 2-1. Afridi's first assignment will be a lone Twenty20 game against Australia in Dubai on October 5 followed by two more games against New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates in December.
Afridi led Pakistan in 19 Twenty20 matches in his first stint, winning eight and losing 11. Pakistan will also play three one-dayers and two Tests against Australia. Afridi said he was looking forward to a new beginning under Waqar, who himself was re-appointed coach in May, his second stint in the job. "Whatever happened is in the past now. I have started a new beginning with Waqar." He continued: "I will do my best to give better results and develop fighting spirits in the players. "This game is not for chicken-hearted, so we have to remove the fear of failure from the players' minds."