Portrait of leg spinner Abdul Qadir of Pakistan
Shahid Afridi has found a strong supporter in former Pakistani leg-spinner Abdul Qadir (above) © Getty Images


By Mona Parthsarathi


New Delhi: Mar 3, 2014


Legendary Pakistan spinner Abdul Qadir feels maverick all-rounder Shahid Afridi has faced unwarranted criticism throughout his career but now the fault-finding should stop following his heroics against India in Asia Cup 2014 on Sunday.


“I have always said that Afridi is a three-in-one player who can bat, bowl and field well. He has faced unnecessary criticism and I feel that being a senior player he deserves respect. He should be allowed to play till he enjoys his game,” Qadir told PTI Bhasha.


Afridi has faced criticism for his inconsistency, with some even questioning his place in the side. The 34-year-old, however, replied his critics by hitting two sixes in the final over against the arch-rivals to pull off a thrilling one-wicket win in Mirpur.


While backing Afridi to lead the side in One-Day international (ODI) format, the leg-spinner said the selection for next year’s World Cup should depend on form and fitness of the player.


“I think he [Afridi] should be the captain of Pakistan team. As far as ICC World Cup 2015 is concerned, I think that is far away and team should be selected on the basis of current form and fitness of players,” said the former Pakistan head coach.


When asked about India‘s performance, Qadir said he was surprised to see batsmen throwing away wickets and the team missed match-finishers like MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh.


“Before the match I thought that Indian batting will have an edge against Pakistan but to my surprise Indian batsmen threw away their wickets, playing irresponsible shots. Virat Kohli is one of the best batsmen today but the way he got out was disappointing. Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane could not play big knocks,” he said.


“India missed Dhoni not only as a captain but also as a wicket keeper. I wonder why India chose to keep Yuvraj out of this tournament. He is a big hitter and extremely useful bowler in these conditions.”


He also blamed the lack of quality pace bowlers for India’s dismal performance on recent tours.


“Indian fast bowlers cannot perform well in death overs and Indian think tank should work on that. Indian spin attack is balanced but they need good fast bowlers. I heard that people are criticising Dhoni for team’s failure abroad but they should not forget that he has led India in all major titles. They need good pacers to win overseas,” he explained.