Afridi not happy with axing of Kamran, Malik from NZ tour

Karachi: Pakistan’s one-day captain Shahid Afridi on Friday questioned national selectors’ decision to drop senior players Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal from the squad for New Zealand tour, saying that it would affect preparations for the 2011 World Cup.

“I am definitely not happy with the way we are preparing for this mega event. I think we need to have experienced players like Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik in the team (for the New Zealand tour),” Afridi told reporters here.

The outspoken all-rounder said that the media should ask the Pakistan Cricket Board and selectors why Kamran and Malik were not included in the squad.

“I think the media should ask the board because we need experience players for a major tournament like the World Cup and you can’t expect to go into such a big event with a young and inexperienced side,” Afridi said.

The national selectors ignored senior players Kamran, Malik, Rana Naved and Danish Kaneria while announcing the Test and Twenty20 teams for the New Zealand tour starting this month.

Afridi also urged the selectors to announce a pool of players for the World Cup as soon as possible so that the players could gel together and start preparing for the mega event.

“We need to work with a pool of players as soon as possible,” he said.

Afridi declined to make any predictions about how Pakistan would perform in the World Cup next year being held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“In modern day cricket, it is very difficult to make any predictions about who will win the World Cup. I know people don’t have much expectations from us in the World Cup but I am positive about our performance and I will back my players to do well, even the younger ones,” he stated.

Asked about the exclusion of Muhammad Yousuf from the Pakistan Twenty20 and Test squads for the New Zealand tour, the flamboyant all-rounder was quick to point out that the senior batsman did not deserve a place in the T20 team while as far as why he was not selected in the test team, he (Afridi) had nothing to do with Test cricket.

Asked about bookmaker Mazhar Majeed’s claims of having ties with Pakistan players, Afridi pointed out that he had no issues at all since he had never done anything wrong in his cricket career.

“When I have done nothing wrong why should I be worried about Mazhar Majeed is saying or has to say I am not bothered at all.”

PTI

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