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Pakistan's Afridi ready to tour West Indies

April 04, 2011 16:58 IST
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Pakistan's limited overs cricket captain Shahid Afridi has made himself available for the tour of West Indies after previously planning on missing the series.

"I had decided to skip the tour because I wanted to take a break from the game, but some former players and my family and friends told me to change my decision at this crucial time for Pakistan cricket," Afridi said on Monday.

Afridi, 31, who has played 320 one-day internationals, led Pakistan to the semi-finals of the recent World Cup where they lost to eventual winners India.

"One of the main reasons I wanted to take a break was because I wanted to be with my father who is not keeping well. But my father insisted that I carry on with the Pakistan team," Afridi said.

Shahid AfridiThe seasoned all-rounder, who finished with 21 wickets in the tournament, said he wanted a break from cricket but the upcoming tour was an ideal opportunity to groom two or three new players.

"That is why I want to be part of the team on the coming tour and carry on the momentum we got from the World Cup," he said.

Afridi revealed the morale of the players was boosted by the warm welcome they received on returning from the World Cup hosted in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

"It is an indication that Pakistan cricket is on the right track and on the coming tours to West Indies and Zimbabwe we can form an ideal one-day combination," he added.

The Pakistan team will play a Twenty20 match against West Indies on April 21, then five ODIs and two Tests.

Afridi said that he had suggested to the Pakistan Cricket Board to look at having a permanent batting coach with the team and that he would discuss the tour with selectors in Lahore on Tuesday.

"Our biggest fears was about the batting in the World Cup and it came true in the semi-final. I think we need a batting coach to guide the batsmen," he said.

No Pakistani made the top 20 of the run scorers list at the tournament and the team were bowled out for 231 in the loss to rivals India, 30 runs short of victory.

Indications from the national selectors suggest they plan to rest some of the senior players for the limited over matches in the Caribbean and try out new players who have performed well in domestic cricket.
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