Asia Cup 2016
Pakistan legend slams Afridi
Javed Miandad says Pakistan's T20 skipper 'stopped being a reliable performer years ago'
3 March 2016, 01:09 PM AEST
Pakistan's exit from the Asia Cup has led former captain Javed Miandad to claim current T20 skipper Shahid Afridi should have been dropped from the side years ago.
And in a twist just two weeks before the ICC World T20 starts in earnest, dumped batsman Ahmed Shehzad is set to be recalled to Pakistan's 15-man squad.
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Bangladesh's five-wicket win over Pakistan in Dhaka on Wednesday night secured the home side's passage into the Asia Cup final against India, meaning Pakistan will now play a dead rubber against Sri Lanka on Friday before heading to India to prepare for the World T20.
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Since the start of their three-match series against England last November, Pakistan have won just two of nine T20 internationals and pressure is building ahead of a tricky World T20 group stage against India, Australia, New Zealand and a qualifying nation, most likely their Asia Cup conquerors Bangladesh.
Miandad, who scored more 16,000 runs in an international career that spanned 20 years, has blamed the entire structure of cricket in Pakistan for the malaise, and he had Afridi firmly in his sights.
"How can you have a player when no one knows how he will perform?" Miandad told Aaj News.
"Afridi's time in the team was over a few years back.
"How can you expect to win or improve your cricket when a player who stopped being a reliable performer some years ago is still playing in the national team? He is captain."
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Afridi, the most capped T20 international player of all time who is set to retire from following the World T20, has been skipper since 2014 having previously held the role between 2010 and 2011.
Having performed strongly with the ball against England last year, the 36-year-old has taken four wickets in five matches since then at an impressive economy rate of under seven runs an over. However, his results with the bat have been on the decline for some time, posting just once score of more than 30 in 20 completed innings since the end of 2013.
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While Miandad singled out Afridi for criticism, he said the skipper wasn't solely to blame.
"The fact is many of our players lack cricket sense and aptitude," Miandad said. "They are over-protected.
"They are saying the Pakistan Super League (PSL) will produce talent. I didn't see any player in the PSL who is so good that he can get a contract in the Big Bash or IPL."
One positive during the Asia Cup has been the form of returning quick Mohammad Amir and Afridi's side is set to get another boost ahead of their World T20 opener in Kolkata on March 16.
Opening batsman Shehzad, who just last week slammed selectors for his omission from the initial World T20 squad, has reportedly been told by the Pakistan Cricket Board to apply for an Indian visa so he can replace the out-of-form Khurram Manzoor.
"Ahmed has been asked to submit his passport for the World T20," a PCB official told The Express Tribune.
"His inclusion in the World T20 side will be made official soon."