Karachi: Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was named captain of the Pakistan A side against Afghanistan in a limited over series being held next week on Monday. Afridi would lead not only the national A side but also of the combined Karachi-Sindh regional outfit that will play against the Afghans in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
Afridi, who has been yearning to get match practice before the limited over series in South Africa, also dropped the idea of playing in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first class tournament because of the Afghanistan series. "We have named a very strong Pakistan A side for the series because Afghanistan is a outfit that can't be taken lightly at any time," chief selector Iqbal Qasim said.
Besides Afridi the Pakistan A ODI and T20 squads also include prominent players like Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Ahmed Shahzad, Wahab Riaz, Fawad Alam, Zulfiqar Babar, Umar Amin, Ali Asad, Yasir Shah and Khurrum Manzoor besides some promising youngsters.
Interestingly, the selectors have ignored former captain Shoaib Malik for the series although he has been playing in the Quaid Trophy. The Afghanistan team is in Lahore training at the National Cricket Academy and had requested a series against the Pakistan A side.
"For Afridi it will be a good work out and we want to give him confidence ahead of the one-day series in South Africa," another selector said. Afridi was in December dropped for the one-day series in India although he was picked for the two T20 matches played against the Indians.
There is a feeling that the series will be important for the likes of Afridi, Kamran, Umar and other discarded players to show their form.