94 per cent Pakistanis want Afridi as captain for World Cup

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Karachi, Jan 31 (PTI) In a public poll conducted by aleading media group in Pakistan, national team''s one-daycaptain Shahid Afridi has got overwhelming support from thepeople to lead the side in the 2011 World Cup, starting fromFebruary 19.

The "Express" media group had conducted a poll in whichthey asked people who they thought should lead Pakistan in theWorld Cup -- Afridi or Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq.

The results published today showed that an overwhelmingmajority of 94 per cent feel that Afridi is the best choice tolead Pakistan in the mega-event, while Misbah, who recentlyled Pakistan to their first Test series win in four years, gotjust six per cent votes.

"The results show that majority want the flamboyantallrounder to be retained as captain in the World Cup and thePakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should now understand this clearmessage," former Test captain Moin Khan said.

Interestingly, there are already indications from theboard that after the initial decision of not announcing thecaptain for the World Cup earlier this month, the PCB has alsonow decided to go with Afridi.

PCB chairman Ijaz Butt today said from New Zealand thatthe World Cup captain would be named on February 4.

Butt, who was due to return home from New Zealand onFebruary 7, has cut short his visit and will now return toLahore on February 3.

Sources in the board confirmed that Butt had met with theplayers of the national team in New Zealand and also the teammanagement.

"He held a long meeting with Afridi and Misbah after someplayers conveyed to him that they were not happy with Afridi''shabit of criticising them publicly in the media after everylost match and that this had a negative effect on the teamspirit," one source said.

"Butt had a long talk with Afridi and told him in clearterms that he needed to improve his behaviour and stop thishabit of giving unnecessary media statements about histeammates. Afridi was told that if he can control this habitand understand the grievances of his teammates, he would beretained as World Cup captain," the source stated.

The source also added that the team management hadadvised Butt against changing the captain at this stage aheadof the World Cup.

"The team management felt that at the moment Afridi wasthe best man to lead the side and was doing his best to fireup the team, besides making efforts to seek cooperation ofevery player in the team," he added.

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