Afridi ends self exile from Test cricket

Karachi: Pakistan Twenty20 skipper Shahid Afridi has decided to end his self-imposed exile from Test cricket and made himself available for this year`s full tour of England, barely 24 hours after making public his intention to retire from the five-day version of the game.

"I have made myself available for the full tour of England that includes Test matches," Afridi said today.

The 30-year-old all-rounder, who last played a Test match in mid 2006 in England, said he took the decision keeping in mind the difficult phase through which Pakistan cricket was going.

"This time I have changed my mind because I know Pakistan cricket is going through difficult times and the Asia Cup and the England tour are going to be very important tours for us from all counts," Afridi said.

"I have taken the decision in better interests of Pakistan cricket. Now it is up to the selectors to decide whether they want me in the Test side or not.”

"As far as the captaincy is concerned whatever decision the board takes will be acceptable to me," he said.

Sources, however, hinted that the Pakistan Cricket Board might have pressurised Afridi to end his exile from Test cricket because of the brewing captaincy crisis.

According to a source, the board, acting on the advice of the coach, manager and the chief selector, wanted Afridi to lead Pakistan in the Asia Cup as well as on the full tour to England.

Afridi, who made his international debut in 1996-97 in Nairobi, has played just 26 Tests in comparison to 293 ODIs and has also been a leading performer in Twenty20 format for his country.

Afridi had officially made himself unavailable for Test matches two years back, saying he wanted to concentrate on shorter formats of the game.

PCB is due to meet on May 25 to announce the captain for the forthcoming Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and England tour, which will last from July till September.



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