Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Afridi challenged to earn Pakistan spot

Shahid Afridi has been challenged to win back his place in the Pakistan one-day side after the former captain was dropped from the squad ahead of the three-match series against India. The all-rounder has kept his place in the T20 squad that will play two games against the Indians, but a disappointing year in the 50-over format has resulted in Afridi being overlooked for the ODI party.

Despite making nearly 350 one-day appearances for Pakistan, Afridi has been told that he needs to rediscover his 50-over form if he is going to be able to break back into the squad. A dismal run of form this year has seen the 32-year old record just 182 runs from his 16 ODI appearances in 2012.

Chief selector Iqbal Qasim has admitted Afridi needed to show he was still committed to playing ODI for Pakistan if he was going to return to the team, revealing the team were looking to blood a number of younger options during the upcoming matches against India.

"If he performs in the Twenty20s then he can make a comeback into the one-day team. It was a difficult decision. He is a great player who can win matches, but in the interest of the team we have decided to left him out,” revealed Qasim.

"We have tried to infuse new blood into both teams as we feel the way forward in these formats is to try out new faces. We want to give exposure to more young players."

The upcoming series, the first between the two nations since 2007, gets underway with Twenty20 clashes in Bangalore and then in Ahmedabad. Following that, Chennai will host the first one-day international on 30 December, followed by matches in Kolkata (3 January) and New Delhi (6 January).

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