After four years… Afridi set to return to first-class cricket

Saturday, October 18th, 2014 9:02:24 by



KARACHI: After a four-year gap, star all-rounder Shahid Afridi has decided to return to first-class cricket and will take part in the Haier Quaid-e-Azam Trophy for his department HBL.

Although Afridi did well with the ball in the recently concluded ODI series against Australia, picking up five wickets in three matches, he continues to be criticised for his inconsistency with the bat.

In order to improve his confidence in the batting department, the 34-year-old will play in a few first-class matches before beginning the series with New Zealand.

Afridi stopped appearing in first-class cricket after announcing his retirement from Tests and only played the shorter formats in domestic cricket.

“Afridi is keen on returning to first-class matches so that he can get some much-needed practice with the bat and bowl long spells as well,” an official close to the HBL team management told The Express Tribune.

“It’s a really positive sign that he has decided on this as it will benefit and motivate the team as well as other players.”

When Afridi was contacted regarding the decision, he confirmed his appearance and said, “Hopefully I’ll play the fourth-round match for HBL against Bahawalpur.

“I’ve been bowling well, but playing domestically will allow me to improve my fitness some more and I’ll get time to bat in the middle which will be really helpful. I’ve been training hard to keep myself fit and get ready for four-day matches.”

Afridi, who has 383 wickets in ODIs and 78 scalps in T20Is, was also warned by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for his comments relating to the captaincy post ahead of the 2015 World Cup; however, he later pledged his full support for Misbahul Haq.

Meanwhile, Pakistan have been left short of bowling firepower as Saeed Ajmal is suspended due to his suspect bowling action and when Afridi was asked whether he will be willing to play Test cricket again, he replied, “No that is not on my mind and I feel the chapter of playing in the longest format of the game is over for me.”

 

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Karachi News Sources -2

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