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Shahid Afridi bats for under-fire skipper Misbah-ul Haq

Misbah-ul-Haq has come under severe criticism after his team went down without fighting in the series-decider against Sri Lanka at Dambulla © AFP
Misbah-ul-Haq has come under severe criticism after his team went down without fighting in the series-decider against Sri Lanka at Dambulla © AFP

Karachi: Sep 4, 2014

Flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who is being tipped to replace Misbah-ul-Haq as captain of the One-Day International (ODI) team for neat year’s World Cup, has come out supporting his embattled skipper.

“Misbah has been leading the side well since the last few years and he has also been out most prolific batsman. I think we all need to support him even if he has had one bad series,” Afridi told reporters in Karachi.

“It is unfair to criticise him so much after just one bad series as captain and batsman. He has been a stable influence on the team and he needs support at this stage for the World Cup,” the former captain added.

Misbah has been test captain since late 2010 but he replaced Afridi as the captain of the one-day and T20 squads in May, 2011 after the former had a spat with the cricket board and was stripped of the captaincy.

“I have no issues playing under Misbah’s captaincy because he has been there for a while now and has been performing consistently since 2010. We depend on Misbah and few other seniors.

“But it is time the junior players also put up their hands and took responsibility to perform,” he said. Afridi said it was unfair to expect the senior players to perform all the time and the juniors also needed to do more before the World Cup. “If we play as a unit, I am sure we will start doing well again and I just want to see the team winning again before the World Cup.”

Afridi also praised the role of head coach, Waqar Younis and said he was a changed person. Waqar worked very hard with the team in Sri Lanka and the players got a lot of support from the team management even under pressure. There is lot of team spirit in this side and I am confident we can start winning again soon it is a matter of time.”

Afridi was stripped of the captaincy after differences with Waqar in 2011, when he was in his first stint as head coach but the all-rounder said that was a thing of the past. “I enjoyed working with Waqar. He is a different person now and you can see the team management just wants the team to click and do well.”

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