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No plan to return to Tests: Afridi

While Shahid Afridi turned down suggestions to return to Test cricket, the all-rounder said that he will focus on his batting during the West Indies tour as Pakistan eye success in the Caribbean

KARACHI: Pakistan limited-overs captain Shahid Afridi turned down calls for a return to Test cricket and said that he has no plans of taking a u-turn on the decision made last year in England. Afridi, who made a comeback to cricket’s longest format during the series in England, retired after the first-Test loss to Australia.

However, several former cricketers including former captain Imran Khan have called on the all-rounder to consider playing Test matches and lead the team in all the three formats.

“I don’t have any plans to make a return to Test cricket,” Afridi told reporters at the Karachi Gymkhana yesterday.

“I think I’m not the best choice for this format,” said the all-rounder while adding that youngsters who perform well should be included instead.

‘Pakistan can become invincible’

Meanwhile, Afridi believed that the team has showed significant improvement in recent months.

“My team has improved a lot recently and our performance in the World Cup was commendable even though there was a lot of pressure.

“I can say that if we continue the progress, we can become like the Aussies who were invincible a few years back.”

Seniors not dropped, insists captain

He added that the seniors, left out of the West Indies tour, were not dropped but were just given a rest after a hectic schedule.

“It’s not true that seniors were dropped from the tour. They have been rested and will return soon.”

The 31-year-old expressed disappointment on all-rounder Abdul Razzaq’s comments, who after being dropped for the tour, complained of being under-utilised during the World Cup.

“It’s not true. The team management gave an equal chance to all the players.”

Afridi to focus on batting in WI

The captain added that he will focus on his batting against the West Indies.

“I’ll focus on improving my batting. Even my daughter has started calling me ‘Baba Boom Boom out’ because of my poor batting performance.”

He said the team will not take the upcoming tour lightly and would give its 100 per cent.

Gul to return for Windies Tests

Fast-bowler Umer Gul has said that he will make a comeback for the Test matches on the West Indies tour.

“I was playing non-stop cricket for several months which is not an easy job for a fast-bowler,” said Gul, who was the second highest wicket-taker for Pakistan during the World Cup after Afridi.

Rehman sees role as an attacking bowler

Left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman said he was aiming to become an attacking bowler for the team.

Rehman opened the bowling on several occasions during the World Cup and was satisfied with his performance.

“I gained a lot of confidence by opening the bowling and I’m satisfied with my performance.”

Shehzad hopes to perform well

Pakistan opener Ahmed Shahzad, who was dropped after playing the first five matches of the World Cup, hoped to regain his form during the West Indies tour.

“I’m disappointed with my performance but I have learnt a lot from the World Cup.

“I’ll look to capitalise on a good start and hopefully I’ll give a good show against the West Indies.”

CM gives Rs 0.5m to each player

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has awarded Rs 0.5 million to each member of the Pakistan team for reaching the World Cup semi-finals.

The minister hosted a ceremony in honour of the cricket team yesterday, attended by majority of the World Cup players and officials including captain Shahid Afridi and coach Waqar Younis. The Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ijaz Butt and manager Intikhab Alam were also present.