Misbah hints at Afridi’s inclusion for India ODIs
LAHORE, Dec 19: Pakistan’s One-day International skipper hinted at the inclusion of all-rounder Shahid Afridi for the ODI series against India which starts in Chennai on Dec 30.
According to Misbah, the ODI squad lacks in all-rounders and there is a chance that Afridi might get the nod if he performs well in the two-match T20 series preceding the three-match ODI series against their arch-rivals.
“In the ODI squad, we have only a few all-rounders including Mohammad Hafeez so if a player performs well during the T20 series, we’ll show no hesitation in picking him up for the ODI series,” Misbah told reporters during a practice match at the Gaddafi Stadium here on Wednesday. “The form of senior players, who are experienced enough, is very important.”
With Afridi in the T20 team, there is a strong possibility of the former Pakistan captain being retained for the ODI series. And reliable sources within the PCB confirmed that notion that a strong performance by Afridi in the T20’s would see him being picked for the ODI series as well.
Afridi was dropped from the ODI squad after his poor return with the bat in his last 16 ODIs where he scored just 182 runs with just one half century. But he’s shown signs of regaining his form with half-centuries in both the practise matches ahead of the series.
“It is a positive sign that players like Younis Khan and Afridi are getting back in form through these matches,” he said.
Regarding the tour, Misbah said he was looking forward to playing in India while adding that he wouldn’t be over-relying on star off-spinner Saeed Ajmal for providing the team with vital breakthroughs.
“We’re looking forward to playing good cricket,” Misbah said. “For that, we need a good bowling attack and all our bowlers would have to deliver, not just Saeed.
“Total reliance on Saeed will not help us achieve our desired goals.
“To trouble the strong Indian batting line-up, we need good options. For example when we set them a target of 330 during the Asia Cup, we were unable to defend that against their batting.”
Misbah was also wary of a possible Indian backlash considering that they had just come off a 2-1 Test series defeat to England.
“After the series loss, India would like to come out with all guns blazing and our team will have to work very hard to counter that,” he said. “Our team has a good combination of youth and experience and each player has been selected after thorough discussions.
“We have victory in our sights and we will be demonstrating a collective team effort to rise to the occasion.”
Misbah added that the final line-up for the matches would be decided considering the playing conditions and wanted his players not to buckle under pressure.
“There is always pressure in India-Pakistan matches,” he said. “Whenever Pakistan and India play there are a lot of emotions and expectations involved but we’ll have to play normal cricket and keep our focus.”