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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report

Afridi regrets actions that led to WC ban

Richard Sydenham in Kingston, Jamaica | March 21, 2007 12:04 IST

Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi said he regretted his actions that led to a four-match ban and subsequently forced him to miss his team's first two games of the World Cup.

Afridi, 27, is set to return from the ban in the penultimate Group D match on Wednesday against Zimbabwe at Sabina Park.

Whereas Zimbabwe need to win to keep their hopes of World Cup progression alive, it is a dead match for Pakistan after they were eliminated following the shock defeat to debutants Ireland on Saturday and West Indies the previous Tuesday.

Afridi was banned by the International Cricket Council for reacting to a heckler after being dismissed in South Africa by prodding him with his bat.

"I was very disappointed when the ICC banned me for four games as I thought maybe two games," Afridi told Reuters. "But now I am wondering why I did this thing in South Africa.

"I obviously regret it. You feel it now because I missed those games against West Indies and Ireland. I came to the World Cup with a very good aim but it's all changed now."Afridi still holds the record for the quickest century in one-day internationals, when reaching three figures off 37 balls against Sri Lanka in 1996. He was 16 and in his first ODI innings (second match).

This potential threat was a reason why the late Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer, whose death on Sunday rocked the cricket world, was disappointed Afridi was unavailable.

Afridi said he was totally dejected when Ireland won by three wickets on Saturday, sending Pakistan crashing out of the event.

"I came back to my room, put down my bag and I thought it had been a dream," said Afridi, who played as an overseas player for Ireland last year. "I thought, 'How come Pakistan lost a game against Ireland?'

"I know these guys (Ireland) and I think we are a thousand times better than them. They have just one or two professional players and the others work five or six days a week. It shows anything can happen in one-day cricket."

Meantime, Afridi said he is still trying to come to terms with Woolmer's death. He said Woolmer used to "keep the team united" and he respected him as he would a father.

"I've played under about five or six coaches and I liked Bob so much," he said.

"Even when I didn't perform he would come to me and say 'Don't you worry about anything, you just play your game and enjoy it'. These words would give me a boost. 

"Against Zimbabwe we should win this game, especially for Bob."

The seven-week tournament in the Caribbean culminates in the Barbados final on April 28.

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