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Struggling Afridi, Gul likely to go same way as Younis

April 02, 2013

Shahid Afridi and Umar Gul. -File photo by AP

LAHORE: After senior batsman Younis Khan, the future of senior all-rounder Shahid Afridi and paceman Umar Gul also appear to be in doubt, well informed sources in the team management told Dawn on Monday.

Younis was axed from the list of 30 probables named on Sunday for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy which is set be played in England from June 4.

“The team management from South Africa tour has expressed serious reservations over the future of Afridi and Umar Gul but in the first step it was decided to just sideline Younis who has failed to perform well over the last 12 months in ODI cricket,” the sources said.

“The team management gave full backing to the selectors to drop Younis from the list of 30 probables for the Champions Trophy,” the sources said.

They further revealed that the national selection committee had a long meeting with the team management before finalising the names of the probables but found no sympathy from the management for the struggling trio. However, it was decided to take steps in phases and not to press panic button because that may cause a lot of hue and cry in the cricketing circles as all three players have ample support of fans and the media.

The sources said captain Misbah also endorsed the decision of the team management as he was not happy with Younis’ performance in one-day matches. During the last 12 months, Younis has played 12 ODI matches scoring just 200 runs at a poor average of 18.18.

“Talented Asad Shafiq could play just one ODI in South Africa while Faisal Iqbal could not play even a single game. So the team management has decided to off-load the under-performing players to give more chances to the youngsters in order to raise a formidable team for the future,” sources said.

“Players like Younis, Gul and Afridi are now seen as past their prime and are not automatic choices anymore unless they come up with some outstanding performances at the top level,” the sources said.

Meanwhile, the sources added that the team management here on Monday also gave a briefing to PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf about the tour of South Africa. Coach Dav Whatmore could not give any solid reason behind the dismal performance of his team in the Test series which Pakistan lost 0-3.

However, he made several suggestions to avoid such debacle in the future including focussing on preparing specialised Test cricketers who should not be tested in the shorter version of the game. A training camp for the bowlers under the coaching of bowling wizard Wasim Akram is also set to be on the cards.

The team management, however, was satisfied over the performance of the national team in the T20 and the ODI matches but admitted that improvement in fielding remains a big challenge for the coaching staff.

The PCB chief also discussed the preparation of junior team for the upcoming World Cup, to be held next year. The think-tank has some worries about arranging more international matches for its junior team till the mega event because no foreign team is ready to visit Pakistan.

Later, a presentation was made to the PCB chairman about building a stadium in Islamabad.