Shahid Afridi does not want cricket during Ramadan

August 26th, 2008 - 1:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Aug 26 (IANS) Pakistan is looking at the possibility of inviting India, among others, to fill in for the now postponed Champions Trophy next month and go to South Africa to play in a tri-series. However, Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi is not very excited about his cricket board’s desperate attempts to have a series against a top Test-playing team in a bid to fill the slot vacated by the postponement of the ICC Champions Trophy.

The News quoted Afridi as saying Tuesday that it would be Ramadan during September and there was no need to make desperate attempts to line up international games. “I don’t think we need to beg countries to play against, especially during Ramadan.”

“We have international cricket coming up later this year and then there is the series against India (early next year),” he pointed out.

Afridi is the second senior Pakistani cricketer to have shown little interest in playing for the national team during Ramadan. Experienced batsman Mohammad Yousuf asked the PCB to allow him to take a break during Ramadan. He was granted permission by the board.

But Afridi’s suggestion was not welcomed by a senior official of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Shafqat Naghmi, PCB’s chief operating officer, told The News that if Afridi wants to take a Ramadan break then he can inform the board about it. “In any case we would only by preferring players to represent the national team who are fully committed to the team’s cause,” he said.

Naghmi said that there is no harm in playing cricket during the holy month of Ramadan. He said the PCB is making efforts to confirm enough matches in September in a bid to fill in the hole left in their Future Tours Programme by the postponement of the Champions Trophy.

Pakistan were scheduled to host the ICC Champions Trophy Sep 12-28 in Karachi and Lahore but the ICC was forced to shift it to October 2009 after South Africa pulled out of the eight-nation contest due to security fears and some other countries looked likely to follow suit.

Naghmi said that efforts are on to line up matches against South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Australia or New Zealand. He hoped that the PCB will be able to confirm a series within the next few days. Naghmi did not rule out the possibility of Pakistan featuring in a three-nation ODI tournament in South Africa involving India and the hosts next month.

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