Karachi: Pakistan’s one-day and T20 captain Shahid Afridi today said that the tour of England was one of the most difficult and demanding in his 14-year career.
Afridi said that he had never seen the team under so much pressure as it was in England because of the spot-fixing allegations.
“It was difficult to even go out as there were people hooting at you, asking questions, etc. There used to be negative stuffs in the media and all kinds of questions were raised. All these things put a lot of pressure on the team,” Afridi said in his captain’s corner show on Geo News.
“In my 14-year career I would say this was one of the most difficult tours I have experienced. But the good thing is that the boys managed to pick themselves up during the one-day series. And the way we won back-to-back matches also earned us a lot of sympathy with the locals.”
Afridi said that he would have loved to finish off the tour on a high by winning the one-day series. “It would have been great but unfortunately it was not to be so,” he said.
Pakistan lost the Test, T20 and the ODI series to England, but it was off-the-field activities that made news during the tour. The team was rocked after the fourth Test at Lords when ‘News of the World’ broke stories of the Pakistan team’s involvement in spot fixing.
Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir were questioned by Scotland yard over spot-fixing allegations that led to suspension of the trio by the ICC.
Afridi said that he was happy with the way the players responded to the pressure. “It was not easy, especially because of the allegations,” said Afridi.
Meanwhile, Afridi criticised some umpiring decisions during the ODI series which England won 3-2, calling for an enforcement of the Umpires Referral System (UDRS) in one-dayers. “They should have the referral system in one-dayers because one mistake by the umpire can change the course of the match,” he said.
Afridi also didn’t rule out the possibility of coming out of retirement from Test cricket for the series against South Africa in the UAE. “I will speak to the PCB chairman but there is no doubt Pakistan cricket is going through a difficult phase and we seniors have to play our role in getting the team out of this crisis,” he said.
Afridi also said that Younis Khan must sort out his problems with the PCB, as the team needed him. “Younis is a proven performer and he should be in the team. I would advise him to meet sort out this issue.”
While clarifying that he wants a combination of seniors and juniors for the 2011 World Cup, Afridi said that having unfit seniors in the side would not be of any use. “Seniors are needed in the team but they must be fit at all times.”