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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cricket: Shahid Afridi wants to play Ireland ODIs

All-rounder confirms availability, leaves selection upto the PCB. PHOTO: APMSO
KARACHI:  Pakistan’s limited-overs captain Shahid Afridi, while playing down the rift with the country’s cricket board, has expressed his desire to play the forthcoming One-Day International (ODI) series against Ireland.
Pakistan will fly to Ireland from West Indies after the second Test and is scheduled to play two ODIs in Belfast on May 28 and May 30.
Afridi’s presence in the squad became uncertain for the series after he was questioned by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in relation to the comments he made after his return from the West Indies. According to reports, the PCB is considering dropping the all-rounder for his statement which, it believed, violated the code of conduct.
Afridi was irked by the unwanted interference in team selection on the West Indies tour and said that the management needed to mind its own business. However, the all-rounder has pleaded not guilty in his reply to the board and made himself available for the series.
“I’m available for the Ireland series,” Afridi told The Express Tribune. “In fact I’ll be in England at that time for my county stint.”
The all-rounder will play for Hampshire for their Twenty20 campaign where he will join South Africa spinner Imran Tahir.
‘PCB to decide my fate’
Afridi, however, said it would be up to the PCB to decide on his fate for the series.
“In my reply I cleared that I had no intentions to target any individual or violate the code of conduct,” he said.  “I’ve tried to convince the PCB that it was a general comment which I often give in the interest of the team. I’d be happy to play but it’s up to the board to decide on my selection.”
However, the PCB has not yet made any decision over his inclusion.
“We’re awaiting manager Intikhab Alam’s report on the West Indies tour to make a decision on the matter,” confirmed a PCB official.

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