x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Afridi says Younus is welcome to T20

Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan Twenty20 side captain, has welcomed a hint from his predecessor Younus Khan that he wants to end his retirement from the shortest format

ISLAMABAD // The Pakistan all-rounder, Shahid Afridi, says Test captain Younus Khan is more than welcome to make a return to the national Twenty20 team. "If he wants to play [Twenty20] he is more than welcome. I will even step down from the captaincy and play under Younus Khan," Afridi has said. Khan, who retired from T20 cricket after leading Pakistan to the Twenty20 World Cup title at England in June, has said he might be persuaded to make a comeback to the shortest form of the game if his teammates were willing to accept him in the squad.

Khan recently offered to step down as captain of Pakistan's Test and one-day teams in protest over match-fixing allegations arising from the Champions Trophy and rifts among the team, but he was persuaded to stay on by the Pakistan Cricket Board. Afridi, who has been appointed as T20 captain until the next Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies in 2010, refuted reports of him unhappy with Khan. However, he said some other players had problems with Khan after the Champions Trophy, which were now resolved. "The players informed me about their problems," Afridi said. "I told them it was better if they directly communicate their problems to Younus, an idea which they didn't like."

Afridi said he had already informed both Khan and the PCB chairman Ijaz Butt about the players' problems and he hoped in future there will be no communication gap between team players and the captain. "The problem with our players is they don't speak their heart out and that's where the communication gap comes in," Afridi said. The Pakistan team will play three One-Day Internationals and two Twenty20 matches against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi and Dubai next month before travelling to New Zealand for a three-Test series.

Afridi was named in both the one-day and Twenty20 squads, but was not selected for the Test matches. "I am focusing on two important events (the Twenty20 World Cup in 2010 and the Limited-Overs World Cup in 2011) and that's why I'm not playing Test matches," Afridi said. "I have not quit playing Test matches and will see after these two major events." * AP