Selectors give a lifeline to Afridi

February 10th, 2009 - 9:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Feb 10 (IANS) Senior Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has been given a lifeline to revive his Test career by national selectors who asked him to lead the local squad in the two-day warm-up match against Sri Lanka in Karachi next week.

Afridi, 28, hasn’t played a Test in more than two-and-a-half years and seems unlikely to play in the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka starting from Feb 21 because of his unimpressive form with the bat.

However, chief selector Abdul Qadir believes that Afridi remains a key player and will remain in contention for a place in the final 15-man Test squad to be announced by Feb 18.

“Afridi is a very senior player with loads of experience,” said Qadir. “We can’t just dump him because he is going through a lean patch,” he added.

It is because of this reason that the national selection committee has appointed Afridi as captain of the 15-man squad that will play against Sri Lanka in a two-day match on Feb 17-18 here at the DHA Stadium.

The selectors have also picked Afridi in a 22-man preliminary Test squad for a training camp that will get underway in Karachi, Feb 15. Afridi is generally regarded as a one-day specialist but the Karachi-based allrounder has played 26 Tests, scoring 1,683 runs at 37.40 with five tons and eight fifties. He has also collected 47 Test wickets.

He has a much more creditable one-day experience, having scored 5,531 runs and taken 243 wickets from 271 one-dayers.

Afridi last played a Test in the summer of 2006 against England in Manchester. Since then he has been confined to playing in ODIs and twenty20 games.

Squad: Shahid Afridi (captain), Bazid Khan, Ahmed Shahzad, Saeed Bin Nasir, Azhar Ali, Asim Kamal, Khaqan Arsal, Bilal Khilji, Sarfraz Ahmed (vice-captain), Yasir Shah, Mohammad Khalil, Wahab Riaz, Fahad Masood, Najaf Shah, Azeem Ghuman.

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