Pakistan Cricket Board chief selector,Abdul Qadir has thrown his weight behind out-of-form Shahid Afridi,insisting that a player of his talent deserves to be a part of the national team.
Qadir defended Afridi’s selection in the probables list for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka and said the right-hander was a rare commodity who could bat,bowl and field with equal expertise.
“Look Afridi is going through a bad patch but given his vast experience and his exceptional talent we can’t just drop him and sideline him,” Qadir told reporters in Lahore after the flamboyant all-rounder was named captain for a two-day practice game against the Sri Lankans in Karachi before the first Test.
“I look at Afridi as a three in one cricketer. He is very talented and even if he fails with the bat he can do well with the ball and he is a very good fielder,” the former leg-spinner said.
Qadir said the selectors were aware about some people’s apprehension about Afridi’s selection.
“But he is very energetic player on the field and is good for the team. So we want to keep him in the picture. Sooner or later he will get over his bad patch,” the chief selector said.
“I personally would always back Afridi to be in the team,” he added.
Afridi has struggled to score runs in the last few months and has not played a Test in more than two-and-a-half years but indications are that the selectors will persist with him atleast in the 15-member squad for the first match against Sri Lanka.
Qadir also said till now he had not seen any upcoming young player who could replace Afridi and who was exceptional in all three departments of the game.
“Once we feel there is a replacement of Afridi,we will go for him but for now we don’t think there is any player who can replace him,” he said.