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Shahid Afridi, right, does not believe Misbah-ul-Haq's supposed lack of faith in his abilities will hurt the all-rounder's chances of a comeback. Pawan Singh / The National
Shahid Afridi, right, does not believe Misbah-ul-Haq's supposed lack of faith in his abilities will hurt the all-rounder's chances of a comeback. Pawan Singh / The National

Misbah-ul-Haq reason for being dropped, says Shahid Afridi

But Pakistan all-rounder will work harder to stage a comeback to national team.

Shahid Afridi has blamed Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan one-day cricket captain, for his exclusion from the Champions Trophy squad, and has vowed to return to the national team.

"It's the captain's decision to drop me," Afridi told the Urdu language Daily Jang on Wednesday. "It's no big deal for me if a captain doesn't want a certain player in the team."

In announcing the squad earlier this week, selectors said Afridi, who has scored 7,201 and taken 348 wickets in ODIs, was left out due to recent poor form in one-day internationals.

He has scored only 161 runs at an average of 17.88 and taken just four wickets at an astonishing cost of 113.75 runs each in the last 12 ODIs. But Afridi refused to go into his recent statistics.

"I am much better than lot of other [Pakistan] players and I know I could play for Pakistan for few more years."

Afridi now plans to prepare for a Twenty20 tournament in England in July where he will represent English county Hampshire.

"I have received lots of text messages from my fans and I am thankful to all of them," he said.

The flamboyant all-rounder refused to accept that his exclusion from the Champions Trophy squad spelt the end of his career.

"I know I have to work very hard to return to Pakistan team," he said. "I want to make it clear I don't want to be burden on the team. I want to represent Pakistan on performance and fitness.

"The day I believed I am burden on the team I will quit myself."

Meanwhile, Pakistan's appointment of Trent Woodhill as batting coach for the Champions Trophy has been met with bafflement, with former greats saying they had never even heard of the Australian.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday appointed the 42-year-old Woodhill for three weeks after the team's poor performance with the bat on their recent tour of South Africa.

Woodhill is currently assistant coach at Delhi Daredevils, second bottom in the Indian Premier League, and has had previous spells with New Zealand and New South Wales.

Former Test captain Hanif Mohammad, one of Pakistan's all-time great batsman and for many years holder of the world-record first class score of 499, was unimpressed.

"Who is Woodhill?" he said. "I have heard his name for the first time in my life. I am surprised how the PCB chose him when his credentials are not known."

Inzamam-ul-Haq worked as batting consultant with the team ahead of their tour to India in December-January but negotiations with the 120-Test veteran fell through in February.

Former wicketkeeper and captain Rashid Latif also claimed ignorance.

"What can I say about a coach whose name I have not heard before?" said Latif. "Pakistan have a batting legend in Javed Miandad who should be helping the batsmen."

Miandad, Pakistan's leading Test run-scorer with 8,832, is currently a director general in the PCB. He will help the batsmen during a tune-up camp in Abbottabad before the team's departure for Britain.

Pakistan will play warm-up games against Scotland and Ireland before the eight-team Champions Trophy starts on June 6.

Former captain Moin Khan said Inzamam should have been given the job.

"Pakistan has so many big names who could have helped the batsmen in a better way than an unknown person," said Moin.

PCB director of international cricket Intikhab Alam defended Woodhill's appointment for a short stint, saying the he has rich experience as batting and fielding coach.


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