Thursday September 28, 2023

Shahid Afridi shares idea of 'two national squads'

Pakistan's interim chief selector Shahid Afridi expresses keenness on making two teams for men’s national side

By Faizan Lakhani & Web Desk
December 31, 2022
Former captain Shahid Afridi. — Facebook/ Shahid Afridi
Former captain Shahid Afridi. — Facebook/ Shahid Afridi 

KARACHI: Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) interim selection committee chair Shahid Khan Afridi has expressed his idea of "two national squads" to attain greater bench strength.

The former Pakistan skipper — who was recently appointed by the PCB management committee as the interim chief selector for the home series against New Zealand — is keen on making two teams for the men’s national side for workload management.

While speaking to the media in Karachi on Saturday, Afridi said that he wants to create two teams for Pakistan before his tenure ends. He also highlighted a “communication gap” as one of the major issues the Pakistan cricket team is facing.

The former captain and flamboyant all-rounder of his era – insisted that the chief selector should be in direct and contact with individual players to be aware of their positions properly.

Afridi said that when he spoke to Fakhar Zaman and Haris Sohail personally, he got to know a clear picture about the players.

The duo was added to Pakistan’s probable for three match ODI series against New Zealand.

“The major problem that I’ve observed here is communication gap among management, doctors and selection committee. It is important for a chief selector – be it me or someone else – to stay in direct contact with players,” he said.

“When I spoke to Haris and Fakhar, I got to know the better picture and I invited them to fitness Test,” he said.

Afridi, however, said that he is not running a one-man show and instead believe in sharing authorities, which according to the former captain is important element for success.

Afridi said that having experienced individuals like Haroon Rashid is helpful for him along with people like Abdul Razzq and Rao Iftekhar Anjum who are involved in domestic cricket.

The interim chief selector also had words with curators of National Stadium and discussed possible wicket for the 2nd Test which starts on January 2.

Afridi said that the wicket for second test will be better one.

“It will be something where bowlers will get some support and batters will also enjoy their stay, there will be some bounce on wicket,” Afridi said.

“We can not become a top team by playing on these wickets. The wickets on which we’ve been playing are injurious to our bowlers, pacers will start having fitness issues and spinners will get their fingers injure.”

“Who says we can not produce better wickets in Pakistan. We certainly can if we are allowed to do so,” said the former captain.

Replying to a question, Shahid Afridi said that he will try to do justice with all the performers as long as he is working in the position of chief selector.

He added that if squad was of 25 players, he would’ve surely added Mohammad Huraira in the list of probable. He praised the youngster and said that he has a good future ahead.

“One thing is that our academies are not working for last 8 months, it is important that we keep them running for our domestic and under 19 performers. I will try to start a camp there for all such youngsters,” the chief selector added.

He said that Babar Azam is backbone of Pakistan team and selection committee is there to support him so that he can get more stronger in field.