Shahid Afridi promises fightback to regain spot in ODI squad

Shahid Afridi stated that he still has a lot to offer for the Pakistan team and will continue for few more years © Getty Images

Karachi: May 1, 2013

Struggling all-rounder Shahid Afridi vowed on Wednesday to work hard to return to the Pakistan team after being axed from the 15-man squad for the ICC Champions Trophy.

“Being in and out is a one-off thing. It happens to every cricket player and I will soon stage a comeback because I believe in hard work and performance, so I don’t want to be bitter,” said Afridi.

The big-hitting all-rounder was earlier dropped for the one-day series against India in December-January before returning for the five one-dayers against South Africa in March.

He failed to get a single wicket in the 3-2 defeat to the Proteas but was the second top run-scorer with 126 behind Misbah-ul Haq on 227. “I am still better than most,” said Afridi.

Asked about reports in Pakistani media blaming captain Misbah for his ousting, Afridi said, “It’s captain’s will if he wants a player or not but I wish him and the team the best of luck for the Champions Trophy.” Afridi said he wanted to play cricket with pride and respect.

“I know I have ample cricket left in me and I can represent Pakistan for the next few years. It’s not unusual that players get dropped but I appeal to my fans to pray for me,” he said. Afridi, who has 7,201 runs and 348 wickets in 354 one-days, defended his lack of wickets in one-day internationals.

“When I was taking wickets, people used to say that I am not scoring runs and now it’s the other way round,” he said. “I know where to improve and I will show improvement soon.

“I will never become a burden on the team and walk away if I am not up to the mark,” said Afridi who will play Twenty20 cricket for English county Hampshire in July.

Pakistan’s chief selector Iqbal Qasim said Afridi’s career was not ended. “We don’t believe that a dropped player is over the hill. Afridi’s career is not over, he can stage a comeback by performing well at the domestic level like all other players,” Qasim said on Monday.

Pakistan will attend a tune-up camp in Abbottabad from Friday before heading to Britain, where they will warm up against Scotland and Ireland before featuring in the eight-nation Champions Trophy in England from June 6-23.