Afridi says Younis welcome to T20 cricket

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi says test captain Younis Khan is more than welcome to make a return to the national Twenty20 team.

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‘If he wants to play (Twenty20) he is more than welcome. I will even step down from the captaincy and play under Younis Khan,’ Afridi said in an interview Wednesday on a private television channel.

Younis, who retired from T20 cricket after leading Pakistan to the Twenty20 World Cup title at England in June, said Tuesday he might be persuded to make a comeback to shortest form of the game if his teammates were willing to accepted him in the squad.

Younis recently offered to step down as captain of Pakistan’s test and one-day teams in protest over match-fixing allegations arising from the Champions Trophy, but he was persuaded to stay on by the Pakistan Cricket Board.

The PCB appointed Afridi as T20 captain untill the next Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies in 2010.

Afridi refuted reports of a rift between he and Younis. However, he said some other players had problems with Younis after the Champions Trophy, which were now resolved.

‘The players informed me about their problems,’ Afridi said. ‘I told them it was better if they directly communicate their problems to Younis, an idea which they didn’t like it.’

Afridi said he had already informed both Younis and the PCB chairman Ijaz Butt about the players’ problems and he hoped in future there will be no communication gap between team players and the captain.

‘The problem with our players is they don’t speak their heart out and that’s where the communication gap comes in,’ Afridi said.

The Pakistan team will play three one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches against New Zealand at Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UNited Arab Emirates next month before traveling to New Zealand for three tests.

Afridi was named in both the one-day and Twenty20 squads, but was not selected for the test matches.

‘I am focussing on two important events (the Twenty20 World Cup in 2010 and the Limited-Overs World Cup in 2011) and that’s why I’m not playing test matches,’ Afridi said. ‘I have not quit playing test matches and will see after these two major events.’— AP

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