Afridi likely to be retained captain for WC: Sources
Karachi: Shahid Afridi is likely to be retained as the one-day captain for the ICC World Cup 2011 after Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ejaz Butt held discussions with the team management in New Zealand and chief operating officer in Lahore.
According to a well-informed source in the board, all indications show that allrounder Afridi is likely to lead the side during the mega-event staring from February 19 to be held jointly by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The source told PTI that Butt held a half an hour discussion with chief operating officer today after his talks with the team management in New Zealand.
"Butt himself is not in favour of having Afridi as captain and is more inclined towards Misbah-ul-Haq. Even Younis Khan wants Misbah as the skipper. But after getting all the feedbacks and suggestions the PCB chief knows that it would be a risky move to change the ODI captain at this stage and it would be better to continue with Afridi," the source disclosed.
The source also added that Butt and some other board officials have lost faith in Afridi over his attitude and repeated violations of the board instructions in recent months.
"Definitely, Afridi is not the favourite candidate for captaincy but even the team management has told Butt not to change the captain for the World Cup at this stage."
He said another factor weighing on the mind of Butt is that some of the senior players in the touring side in New Zealand including Shoaib Akhtar, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul are in favour of Afridi and want him to continue as the World Cup captain.
"The PCB Chairman has a difficult decision to make because he has to ensure there are no issues or conflicts within the team just before the World Cup," the source stated.
The source also informed that Butt is likely to announce the World Cup captain this week after some more deliberations in New Zealand.
He even indicated that Butt was facing pressure from the top over the captaincy issue.
"Most of the major sponsors who have invested lot of money in the tournament in Pakistan have already prepared their campaigns with Shahid Afridi as captain in their commercials. So they are concerned that any late change in the captaincy now would derail their campaigns and cost them millions of rupees in losses," the source said.
"These companies are also lobbying within the government to ensure that the Pakistan board does not change Afridi as captain for the World Cup."
The PCB has come in for severe criticism from a number of former players for delaying in naming the captain for the mega-event.
The former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq even felt that the delay had led to groupism within the team and could prove damaging for the team during the World Cup.