December 4, 2013 Sections
The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
ISLAMABAD - Enigmatic allrounder Shahid Afridi wants his future Pakistan selections based on performance and to stay fit so he can keep playing cricket until the 2015 World Cup.
The prospects for Afridi, who captained Pakistan to the 2011 World Cup semifinals, are in doubt after he failed to get a wicket and scored only 126 runs in the five-match ODI series against South Africa last month.
"I, myself, am realizing some weaknesses in my bowling, and whatever I know about my mistakes I am trying to overcome those," Afridi said in the southern port city of Karachi on Thursday.
Although Afridi was named in a provisional list of 30 for the Champions Trophy in England and Wales in June, he is under public pressure to be dropped when the final squad is trimmed to 15.
"I will not play by force and neither would I like the selectors to select me without good performances," he said.
Chief selector Iqbal Qasim said before the ODI series against South Africa that it will be the allrounder's last chance to perform in international cricket.
Afridi ranks third in Pakistan ODI history with 354 matches, with an average of 23 and a bowling average of 34 with his legspin. But his recent slump in form has raised questions about whether he can last until the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in two years when he will be 35. It would be his fourth World Cup.
"The 2015 World Cup is in my mind, but it depends on (my) fitness and performance," he said.
Afridi quit tests for a second time in 2010 after he was named captain for the test series against Australia at a neutral venue in England, but retired from tests after losing the first at Lords by 150 runs.
"When I felt I was not up to the mark in test matches, I left the five-day format, but my fitness level is good (for ODIs and Twenty20s) and I want to continue play at the top level," he said.
Meanwhile, former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt told Daily Dawn newspaper this week that coach Dav Whatmore should be removed because his association with Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez was putting pressure on ODI captain Misbah-ul-Haq.
But Afridi hit back at Butt, who removed him as ODI captain in 2011 after the World Cup in Sri Lanka.
"A lot happened in Butt's tenure," Afridi said. "I was removed as one-day captain despite a semifinal finish and I had won the last ODI series against the West Indies.
"When he (Butt) was the chairman, the spot-fixing scandal happened and then international cricket also went away (from Pakistan)," Afridi said.
"Our combination is good and everyone must support the team and the players.
"Misbah is leading the team well and our combination is very good, so I expect better results if we stick to our plans and play to our potential."