Confident Afridi to stand in for injured Younis
When Pakistan take on a depleted West Indies on Wednesday, it will be with a new captain. This time it's not a matter of intrigue or the sacking of a captain, but something more mundane, reports HT Correspondent.cricket Updated: Sep 23, 2009 01:22 IST
When Pakistan take on a depleted West Indies on Wednesday, it will be with a new captain. This time it's not a matter of intrigue or the sacking of a captain, but something more mundane.
Younis Khan suffered a hairline fracture on the little finger of his right hand while taking a catch in a warm up match and has all but been ruled out. Shahid Afridi, who took over as skipper of the Twenty20 team just recently, will lead the team in a 50-over match for the first time.
Afridi, who remains a youthful 29 even after 13 years of international cricket, says he has matured over the years and is no longer merely the aggressive batsman that he was when he exploded onto the world stage.
“Responsibility has matured me,” Afridi said on Tuesday afternoon. “I still enjoy my cricket, but I now try and avoid the reckless strokeplay.”
The Pathan all-rounder also said he enjoyed captaincy and would not be under extra pressure. “The one who handles pressure well becomes a good cricketer. There is no need for me to be under pressure because I have the players' and the coach's support.”
Afridi has come a long way and the captaincy is obviously the pinnacle. “There've been good times and bad, wins and losses, smiles and tears --- more of the latter for me,” Afridi conceded.
“It's been a struggle, similar to what life is like. But I'm enjoying my cricket, and will continue to enjoy it till such time that I play the game. It is an honour just to be playing for Pakistan. To captain the side is a dream come true.
“I hope to come up to the expectations placed in me by the Board and coach. I have already captained once in Sri Lanka, with success. It is a really important match and I will try and instill the winning mentality into the players.”
Fast bowler Mohammad Asif's one-year ban came to an end on Tuesday night and he would be available for selection.
One school of thought is that it would be a good idea to play him against the West Indies rather than throw him in against India. The other is that he should not be rushed in. A decision on his selection is to be taken.
For the West Indies, the game is a crucial one and they will hope Pakistan turn up and have one of those days when everything goes wrong. An upset here could leave the group, which also has India and Australia, wide open.
PTI adds from Karachi: Already out of the opening match, Younis Khan could end up missing his team's entire group stage campaign to a hand injury.
“Second X-rays have confirmed that it is a hairline fracture in his right index finger and it will take time to heal,” a PCB source said. “Although the team management in South Africa have decided to handle Younus' case on a match by match basis but there are strong chances he might not be able to play in the remaining group matches,” the source added.
In Champions Trophy
West Indies beat Pakistan by 30 runs at Dhaka in a quarterfinal on October 29, 1998
West Indies beat Pakistan by 7 wickets at Southampton in the semifinal on Sep 22, 2004
Overall performance of both teams in the Champions Trophy
Team - P - Won - Lost - Win%
Pak - 11 - 5 - 6 - 45.45
WIndies - 18 - 12 - 6 - 66.67
Head to head
P - 113
WI - 64
Tied - 2
NR - 0
Pakistan are leading 8-2 in the last 10 matches.
Shahid Afridi (stand-in-captain), Imran Nazir, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umer Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Rana Naved-ul Hasan, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Yousuf, Kamran Akmal, Umar Gul, Mohammad Aamir, Mohammad Asif, Rao Iftikhar, Saeed Ajmal
Floyd Reifer (capt), Darren Sammy, David Bernard, Tino Best, Royston Crandon, Travis Dowlin, Andre Fletcher, Nikita Miller, Kevin McLean, Kieran Powell, Dale Richards, Kemar Roach, Devon Smith, Gavin Tonge, Chadwick Walton
Umpires: Steve Davis (AUS) and Daryl Harper (AUS)
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