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Afridi promises to unify troubled Pakistan squad

cricket Updated: Jul 12, 2010 18:40 IST

AFP
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Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has vowed to rid his squad of the disharmony that scarred their recent tour to Australia.

Pakistan's ill-fated trip to Australia earlier this year ended in a 3-0 Test whitewash and bans for four players - including former captain Younus Khan - amid allegations of dressing room unrest.

Khan's ban was subsequently lifted but he is not on the current tour to England, with Afridi assuming the leadership instead.

Afridi, 30, is leading a relatively inexperienced side as they prepare to play the first of two Tests against Australia in London at Lord's starting on Tuesday.

But the new captain says he is adopting an inclusive style of man-management to ensure this tour is not damaged by infighting.

"The guys are united," Afridi told reporters at Lord's on Monday. "I am trying to keep the guys as close as I can. I take them for dinner and the communication problem is not there now.

"We sit together and chat to each other. If they have any problems they can come to me and the coach and share them.

"It is a difficult job, especially with the different cultures, and the different cities. But the thing is I respect these guys and whatever their problems are I listen and talk to the management.

"They are feeling good playing with my captaincy. I am trying to be a good man-manager."

Pakistan play Australia twice before taking on England in four more Tests, five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 games.

They made a fine start to the trip by beating Australia in a pair of Twenty20 games in Birmingham.

With those victories in mind, Afridi believes now is the perfect time for his side to be playing Ricky Ponting's side at Test level, especially as many will be playing their first game at Lord's.