x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Afridi Test return in UAE possible

Pakistan all-rounder could fill a gap as limited-overs captain feels 'seniors have to play our role' in times of crisis.

Pakistani expatriates in the UAE could witness Shahid Afridi make a dramatic return to Test cricket next month. Afridi, 30, who is captain of the limited-overs side, announced his retirement from Test cricket following the defeat to Australia in England in July, citing a lack of temperament for the longer form of the game.

However, the swashbuckling all-rounder has not ruled out the possibility of coming out of retirement to return to the Test team again for the series against South Africa in the UAE starting next month. With Salman Butt, the Test captain, and bowlers Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamer suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) following allegations of spot-fixing, the Pakistan Cricket Board, could be forced to turn to the national sporting hero.

"I will speak to the chairman of the board but there is no doubt Pakistan cricket is going through a difficult phase and we seniors have to play our role in getting the team out of this crisis," Afridi said. Meanwhile, the England and Wales Cricket Board yesterday demanded a "full and unreserved apology" from Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, for his allegations that England players had engaged in match-fixing.

"Mr Butt has been advised that if a satisfactory response is not received, legal proceedings will be commenced against him without further notice," an ECB statement said. The threat follows an interview given by Butt to a Pakistan television channel after England lost the third one-day international against Pakistan at the Oval last Friday. Butt said there had been "loud and clear talk in bookies' circles that some English players were paid enormous amounts of money to lose [Friday's] match".

Also, Monty Panesar, the left-arm spinner, was handed a chance to resurrect his Test career while Chris Tremlett could join a towering pace attack after both were named in England's squad to tour Australia this winter. Panesar, whose last Test was the first match of the 2009 Ashes series, got the nod as back-up spinner to Graeme Swann. * Agencies