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Injury may send Afridi out of second Test

July 16, 2010 22:44 IST

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi on Friday said that a side strain might stop him from playing even the second Test against Australia at Headingley, after which he desires to retire from the five-day version of the game.

"I picked up the side strain in the Asia Cup and I will see how it goes in the next two or three days if I am not comfortable I will not play the second Test," Afridi said from London.

If Afridi does not play in the match starting from July 21, vice-captain Salman Butt would be his natural successor to lead the team. "I think, Salman should captain the Test team because he is the vice-captain," Afridi added.

Afridi on Frday announced his retirement immediately after his team suffered a humiliating 150-run defeat at the hands of Australia in the first Test in Lord's.

"I had accepted the Test captaincy in the interest of the nation but now I feel that I am not fit now for Test matches," he said.

It was Afridi's first Test appearance since the mid of 2006 and he failed to make any impact.

"I have taken this decision after giving it thought during this match. I don't think I am ready for Test cricket again. I think it would be better if in my place a specialist batsman or bowler play," he said.

He also made it clear that he had conveyed his decision to the team management.

"But I will continue to lead the team in the one-dayers and T20 cricket as I still enjoy playing those brands of the sport. So it is not that I am retiring from all cricket. I just don't want to play Test cricket any more," Afridi said.

Afridi also said that the board had got in touch with former captains Younis Khan and Muhammad Yousuf and asked them to make themselves available for the Tests against England.

"The team needs these experienced players for the English conditions." Meanwhile, Pakistan manager Yawar Saeed said that efforts would still be made to convince Afridi that he should not retire at this stage and play out the full series.

"But if he does not agree then obviously the vice-captain is the automatic choice to lead the team," he said.

PCB accepts Afridi's resignation

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board accepted the resignation of Shahid Afridi as captain of the Test team but said his deputy Salman Butt was not an automatic choice to take over for the rest of the five-day matches during the tour of England.

Afridi's decision to retire as the Test captain means Pakistan cricket has seen four Test captain change since early 2009, when Shoaib Malik was removed after a home series defeat to Sri Lanka.

"I have accepted the resignation of Afridi as Test captain but he would continue to lead the team in one-dayers and T20 internationals," PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt said from London. 

"We had appointed Afridi as captain for all three formats of the game for the tour to England, but if he is not comfortable now playing the longer version of the game we can't force him to carry on as Test captain," Butt added. 

The PCB Chairman said Afridi's decision had come as a surprise and the Board would now meet in next few days  to decide who will captain the Test team for the rest of the England tour.

"Salman Butt is not the automatic choice despite being vice-captain as it is the discretion of the Board to decide who should lead the Test team," Butt said. 

However, he declined to comment on media reports that he had asked former captain Muhammad Yousuf to come out of retirement and join the team in England for the series against England.

"I will not comment on that issue but we still have a lot of cricket to play and we need to re-group quickly. Afridi will continue to lead the team in the ODIs and T20 matches," he said.

Meanwhile, sources said that the Board is also considering recalling former captain Younis Khan for the Test series and the chances of either Younis or Yousuf being asked to take over as Test captain cannot be ruled out. 

"The experiment with new players in the first Test backfired and Afridi's retirement has forced the Board to rethink their strategy," one source said. 

Both Younis and Yousuf were not considered for the England tour although Younis was available after a ban was lifted from him in June. 

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