Afridi to lead Pakistan in World Twenty20

LAHORE; Pakistan’s cricket board on Tuesday named all-rounder Shahid Afridi as captain for next month’s World Twenty20, in which the embattled team are hoping to defend their title in the West Indies.

The 30-year-old was tipped favourite to lead the side, but his reputation suffered a blow when he was slapped with a two-match ban for tampering after being caught biting the ball during a match against Australia last month. Afridi vowed to carry the team to victory after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced his appointment.

“I am very happy to be appointed captain and I will do my utmost to help Pakistan defend the World Twenty20 title,” he said.

On March 10, the PCB handed bans and fines to seven top players including Afridi on disciplinary charges linked to their dire December-February tour of Australia. Pakistan lost all three Tests, five one-days and a Twenty20 match. Afridi was fined three million rupees ($35,000) and put on six months probation for his “shameful act.”

Two days after the decisions, the PCB announced a 15-man squad for the World Twenty20 but postponed naming a captain. Afridi has led Pakistan in three T20 matches, winning them all.

Pakistan won the second World Twenty20 in England last year, and are placed in Group A of the 12-team event along with Australia and Bangladesh. They face Bangladesh in the first match on May 1 and Australia the next day. The tournament will be held from April 30-May 16 in the West Indies.