Afridi hopes for Pakistan comeback

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Old 22-Aug-2011
Harpreet Seehra
Afridi hopes for Pakistan comeback

On the same day when Waqar Younis quit as national coach, Shahid Afridi, the former Pakistan captain who had retired conditionally , said he wants to return to the national side, but only if Pakistan make changes to the team management which satisfy him.

"My heart bleeds to play for Pakistan and I am dying to play for my country. I even wanted to go to Zimbabwe and hopefully at the right time I will make a comeback to the team," he told Geo TV. "They need to bring in more sensible and good people into the team management and if that happens I will reconsider my decision to retire. I have been moved by the support shown to me by the people. I owe them a lot."

Afridi and Waqar had been at loggerheads during Pakistan's tour of the West Indies, during which Afridi captained the ODI side to a 3-2 series victory. In his report on the tour, Waqar had called Afridi immature and questioned his discipline.

Waqar, however, said that he quit as coach only due to personal and health reasons and that he had no differences with anyone. Though Afridi himself quit the game due to differences with the board and management over his axing as ODI captain, he said that if Waqar did have issues with anyone in the board or team, he should have worked them out.

"I don't know [the reasons for Waqar's resignation] but I feel if he had any issues he should have faced them. He didn't look to have health problems to me, but now if that has changed I don't know about that."

The PCB in a release insisted Waqar's resignation had nothing to do with a rift between him and the board or the selection committee. Waqar has maintained the same. "It is unfortunate that these stories appeared despite the fact that I presented myself to media and talked in detail on the reasons of my resignation," he said. "Working with the Pakistan team is an honour and I enjoyed being part of it. I have my personal reasons to resign and all the stories about my differences with anyone are absolutely incorrect."

Waqar also said that picking young players was the way ahead for Pakistan. "It is good that a young side has been announced for the Zimbabwe tour. It is good to see youngsters in the side and there will always be criticism but sooner or later at some time you need to induct new players.

"If you don't find replacements at the right time than you face the problems that India is now facing. If you look at India's case they have not inducted youngsters at the right time and they are in a bad state in England. Unfortunately we are not getting any international cricket at home so how do you try out your new players, especially those who have performed well in domestic cricket."

Pakistan's team management has seen a complete shake-up in the last month, with manager Intikhab Alam being removed and the assistant coach being changed as well.

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