Afridi wants Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik in team

December 03, 2010

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Shoaib Malik has always been good. If he was dropped it doesn't mean he was out of the national team forever: Shahid Afridi.—File photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan limited-overs captain Shahid Afridi wishes senior players Shoaib Malik and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal were in the team for the tour of New Zealand.

The selectors have ignored Malik and Akmal for next month's three Twenty20s and two tests against New Zealand. The squad for six one-day internationals against the Black Caps will be named later.

''They (Malik and Akmal) are requirements of the team,'' Afridi said on Friday in the southern port city of Karachi. ''I think you (reporters) should ask the Pakistan Cricket Board and the selection committee what's the problem in the selection of Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal.''

Malik's exclusion from the tour has surprised because of his impressive form in the domestic first-class competition.

Malik was also not named in the match-fixing or spot-fixing controversy that marred Pakistan's tour of England.

Three Pakistan cricketers are under suspension and four more were named in a video obtained and aired by Geo television on Tuesday, when players' agent Mazhar Majeed fingered Akmal.

Akmal averages more than 27 in 123 ODIs since 2002, but his glovework hasn't been as good as his batting.

Malik, who also played in the 2007 World Cup, was dropped for the recent series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates, and Afridi said it was due more to the allrounder's poor form.

''Malik has always been good,'' Afridi said. ''If he was dropped it doesn't mean he was out of the national team forever.

''When a player stays away from international cricket for one or two series, it gives him good time to think about and realize his mistakes.''

After Pakistan lost the Twenty20 and one-day series to South Africa in the UAE, Afridi said he needed experienced players for next year's World Cup.

''You can't take a new team to the World Cup,'' he said. ''I know there's not much expectations from our team, but I will continue to motivate my players.''

Afridi said he wanted the pool of Pakistan's World Cup players to be finalized as soon as possible so that he could have a fair idea about the composition of the team.

''I know it's difficult (World Cup), but I am positive that we could do well.''