Akram backs PCB's decision to retain Afridi as skipper

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 14, 2011 08:21 hrs

KARACHI: Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram has backed the PCB's decision to retain Shahid Afridi as the national team captain for the one-day series in New Zealand.

Akram's comments came in the wake of the raging debate over whether Afridi should lead the team in the forthcoming World Cup. Some former greats have backed Test captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, to lead the country in the prestigious one-day tournament.

"I feel that changing the captain so close to the World Cup will cause great damage to the national team and its chances in the tournament," Akram told reporters on the sidelines of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy final.

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Akram, however, advised Afridi to work hard on his batting and bring more consistency and lead the team from the front.

The board, who is yet to announce the captain for the World Cup, added fuel to fire when it said that it is also uncertain about appointing Afridi.

The board however named Afridi as captain for the six-match one-day series in New Zealand this week.

Akram felt the selectors had made a mistake by not including senior batsman Muhammad Yousuf for the series.

"Yousuf is a very seasoned campaigner and I think, in the World Cup, when the pressure will be high and all matches will be important you need someone like Yousuf in the middle order to stabilise things. He should be in the side," Akram said.

The selectors gave no reasons for sidelining Yousuf for the series in New Zealand, but kept him in the World Cup preliminary squad of 30 players.

The selectors expressed their unhappiness over the fitness of Yousuf which would be tested when he leads the Lahore team in the national one-day championship from Friday.

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Akram also supported having the five-day Quaid Azam Trophy final under lights.

"I think such changes in Test cricket as well will make it more attractive for spectators who now want more action and colour in the sport after the advent of T20 cricket," he said.

"There is nothing wrong in making such experiments that can prove beneficial to not only our domestic cricket but also Test cricket in future," he said.

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