Afridi hints Akhtar will have limited role in World Cup

Karachi, Jan 30 (PTI) Pakistan one-day captain ShahidAfridi has indicated a limited role for experienced fastbowler Shoaib Akhtar in the remaining matches in New Zealandand next month''s World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

After Pakistan''s win over New Zealand in Christchurchyesterday, Afridi said that Akhtar was left out of the matchas he still needed to work harder on his fitness and form.

"Shoaib might be given a chance to play if we manage towin the series in the next two games," Afridi said.

"He is working hard in the nets and our coach WaqarYounis is spending lot of time with him. It is clear he stillneeds to work hard on his fitness and form," Afridi added.

The seasoned fast bowler played in the first one-dayerthat Pakistan lost and was then left out in the next twomatches indicating a reduced role for him in the coming WorldCup.

Afridi made his impressions about Shoaib clear after thefirst one-dayer when he said that he thought the fast bowlerhad struggled in the match and their might be changes in theremaining matches.

Pakistan preferred to play Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz andSohail Tanvir in the second and third ODIs.

"Shoaib needs to be match fit and should train. [Coach]Waqar Younis is working hard with him," Afridi maintained.

Shoaib didn''t play in the last World Cup because ofdoping offence and fitness issues but featured in the 1999 and2003 World Cups making an impact in some of the matches.

The 35-year-old fast bowler who has taken 242 wickets in158 one-day internationals has been a regular member of theT20 and ODI teams since last year and is said to be one of themain players who are supporting Afridi for the World Cupcaptaincy.

Sources within the team said that Afridi and Waqar appearto now think that in the sub-continental conditions in theWorld Cup, it would be better to bank on the younger pacebowlers instead of Shoaib who would have a limited role toplay in what should be his last World Cup.

Afridi also said after the third ODI in which he starredwith a cracking 65 from 25 balls that the team managementwould not follow a rotation policy in the remaining threeone-day games in New Zealand.

"Their will be no rotation policy and we will play ourbest team because we want to win this series and the morematches we win it will mean we will go into the World Cup withour confidence and morale sky high," he added.

The flamboyant allrounder said that other teams might beopting for a rotation policy to prepare for the World Cup butthe Pakistan team management first wanted to be sure about itsbest first eleven combination for the World Cup.

"If we manage to win the series in New Zealand then wewill think about rotating players," he said.

Please Wait while comments are loading...