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Monday, January 31, 2011

Malik backs Afridi as World Cup captain

Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik has backed Shahid Afridi as the man to lead the team in the World Cup starting next month.
Malik, who was left out of the 15-man squad announced for the mega event in which the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) did not name the captain, said that a change would not benefit the team.
While Afridi has been tipped to retain the captaincy, the PCB will make a formal announcement after weeks of speculation that the all-rounder may be replaced by Test skipper Misbahul Haq. The PCB decided against naming the leader when it announced the final World Cup squad with former cricketers lashing out at the decision saying that it was not in the best interest of the team.
Malik, too, believed that Afridi is the right choice to continue leading the team.
“Afridi should be retained as captain for the World Cup,” said Malik. The change in captaincy at this stage is in no way in the interest of the team.”
The former captain also dismissed the notion that Misbah’s fine form made him deserving to lead the side in the tournament.
“It’s not necessary to appoint him [Misbah] as captain on the basis of his Test performance,” said Malik.
“Misbah’s form may get affected with the added burden of captaincy which may hurt the team combination.”
Meanwhile, Malik was relieved after he was named the captain of the Punjab team in the upcoming Pentangular Cup.
“Doubts that have been raised over me should end after my appointment as captain in the Pentangular Cup.”
Malik along with leg-spinner Danish Kaneria failed to get clearance from the PCB Integrity Committee which probed three players including wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal on suspicion of links with bookies. While Akmal was selected for the World Cup as well as the ongoing One-Day International leg of the New Zealand tour, the two players were overlooked. The pair is also expected to lose the new PCB central contracts which are due to be announced shortly.
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