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Afridi willing to step down as T20 captain for Younis

cricket Updated: Oct 29, 2009 02:21 IST

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Shahid Afridi is willing to step down as Pakistan's Twenty20 captain in case Younis Khan decides to return to the shortest version of the game.

The senior Pakistani all-rounder said in an interview Tuesday night that he will be pleased to have Younis back in Twenty20 ahead of next year's ICC World Twenty20. Pakistan will be defending its title in the event to be played in the Caribbean in April-May.

Younis, who is Pakistan's captain in Test and One-dayers, decided to quit the slam-bang version after leading Pakistan to the World T20 Trophy last June but said in a recent interview that he can think about returning to the T20 format if his teammates were willing to accept him in the squad.

"If Younis wants to play (Twenty20) he is more than welcome. I will even step down from the captaincy and play under him," he said. Afridi rejected speculations that he had a rift with Younis but revealed that some of his teammates had some issues with the captain.

"The players informed me about their problems," he said. "I told them it was better if they directly communicate their problems to Younis, an idea which they didn't like."

The 29-year-old Afridi said he had already informed both Younis and the PCB chairman Ijaz Butt about the players' problems and he hoped in future there will be no communication gap between players and the captain.

"The problem with our players is they don't speak their heart out and that's where the communication gap comes in," Afridi said.

Afridi said he has a blueprint in his mind that is aimed at raising a strong team to defend the crown in the Caribbean.

He told 'The News' that he is very clear about the steps needed to be taken ahead of the 2010 World Twenty20 championship where his team will be looking to retain the title it won in England last June.

Afridi spoke of an extended pool of probables and announced that he has planned best possible steps to ensure that Pakistan are as miserly in giving away extras as teams like South Africa and Australia. Afridi said he has already briefed Ijaz Butt, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, about his plans for the April 30 to May 16 assignments.

"I told him that we need to pick around 28-30 top performers from the domestic circuit and have them attend a camp immediately after the tour of Australia," he said referring to Pakistan's Test and one-day series that will end next February.

"After the camp we can sit down and pick the very best from that pool and I'm sure they will form a capable team," he said.

Afridi is pinning his hopes in youngsters like hard-hitting batsman Khalid Latif and pacer Wahab Riaz, saying that the duo is in his list of players, likely to make the Twenty20 squad.