Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan all-rounder, said his side will have revenge on their mind when they take on New Zealand in the Emirates next month. The Black Caps, who parted company with their coach Andy Moles yesterday, defeated Pakistan in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy in South Africa last month. The two sides will compete in a three-match one-day series and two Twenty20 games in Abu Dhabi and Dubai starting November 3.
Afridi said yesterday that the outcome would be different this time. "We are definitely better prepared for them this time," he said. "Bring on the [Daniel] Vettoris and the [Shane] Bonds, we are ready for you." Afridi will captain the side in the Twenty20 matches after Younus Khan retired from the shortest form of the game following Pakistan's victory in the World Twenty20 in England earlier this year.
Afridi refuted reports of ill-feeling between himself and Khan, who will captain the team in one-day games. "Younus and I go back a long way as friends, almost 15 years, and are mature enough to discuss and sort out any problem under the sun in amicable way," he said. "I am quite used to such rumours of discord or leadership difference which surface everytime Pakistan lose a key match or a tournament. I am not fazed by them anymore."
New Zealand impressed in the Champions Trophy, but media reports suggested the players had lost confidence in Moles. It led to him agreeing to step down in an "amicable agreement" yesterday. "There was a group of players who had lost confidence in my ability as a coach," he said. "This left me in an untenable position after that had been so widely reported the day before. "Over the 11 months I've been around I had no inkling, no communication there were problems until we got back after the Champions Trophy. It is unfortunate it wasn't raised before and that will be looked at, I'm sure, by New Zealand Cricket going forward."
Meanwhile the New South Wales Blues defeated Trinidad & Tobago by 41 runs in the final of the Champions League Twenty20 in Hyderabad on Friday night, with the Australian side's captain Simon Katich hailing the competition as a new chapter in cricket. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org