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PCB bowls a googly again, sacks Afridi as skipper

Miffed with his frequent media outbursts, the Pakistan Cricket Board today removed Shahid Afridi as captain for the two-match ODI series against Ireland, but retained the flamboyant all rounder in the squad.

cricket Updated: May 19, 2011 23:23 IST

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday replaced Shahid Afridi with Misbah-ul-Haq as the team captain for a brief series in Ireland later this month.

The decision to remove Afridi came just weeks after he led Pakistan to an ODI series triumph against the West Indies in the Caribbean. Afridi, however, has been retained in the 16-man squad which will play two ODIs against Ireland on May 28 and 30 in Belfast.

PCB chairman Ijaz Butt did not give any specific reason why Afridi, hailed for his stellar performance and good captaincy during the 2011 World Cup, was replacd.

“Afridi has been retained as a player in the one-day team (for Ireland) but the captaincy has been given to Misbah,” Butt said in Lahore.

Is Tiff with Waqar the reason?

Apparently, Afridi’s tiff with Pakistan coach Waqar Younis is said to be the reason behind the move. Afridi, after his return from the Caribbean earlier this month, had hinted that Waqar was trying to call the shots in team matters. Though Afridi didn’t take any names, his comments forced the PCB to issue him a show-cause notice. Afridi is currently in Houston, where he is visiting his ailing father.

The all-rounder said he hasn't heard about his removal but was available for national duty in any capacity. “I’m always ready to give my best for Pakistan in whatever role is given to me,” he told IANS.

Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Younis Khan, Taufiq Umar, Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Salman, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Tanvir Ahmed, Hammad Azam.

Pakistan may host England series in SL

Pakistan are examining the possibility of hosting their home cricket series against England in Sri Lanka early next year. A senior Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said on Thursday that they are looking at Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates as potential venues. Sri Lanka have made an offer to host their series.

“While finalising the venues it will boil down to the cost factor,” said chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed. “We have got an offer from Sri Lanka to host the series and are looking at it.”

England also want to play the scheduled series at a neutral venue because of the worrying security situation in Pakistan. No foreign team has visited Pakistan since March 2009, when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

Five visiting players in the team bus were also wounded. Pakistan have, in the last two years, played their one-day and Test series against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Ahmad said the series against England could yield significant revenues from sponsorship and other rights for Pakistan. “Sri Lanka is keen but we have to see where we can get the best sponsors in Sri Lanka or the UAE,” he added.