Afridi may become Pakistan's next T20 skipper

Shahid Afridi, who after guiding Pakistan to the World T20 title in Sunday's final, may soon get the opportunity to lead the side in the shortest format.

updated: June 22, 2009 10:20 IST
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Flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who after guiding Pakistan to the World Twenty20 title in Sunday's final expressed willingness to lead the national team atleast once before calling it quit, may soon get the opportunity.

The dream of Afridi, who cracked an unbeaten 40-ball 54 to help Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets at the Lord's, may come true after Younus Khan stepped down as the T20 skipper.

Having regained his sublime touch with the bat and his bowling already being a potent weapon, Afridi is now most likely to succeed Younus as the T20 skipper.

"For the time being Shoaib Malik is ruled out of contention for captaincy at any level and the way Afridi has performed and handled new found responsibilities as a senior player, he is certain to become the Pakistan captain for T20 cricket," one Pakistan Cricket Board official said.

If Afridi comes at the helm of country's T20 squad, his first assignment will be the one-off match against Sri Lanka on August 12 during their tour to the island nation.

And indications are that Afridi will also be taking over as Pakistan's ODI captain if Younus decides to play the Test matches only.

"That might be far off as Younus has his eyes set on the 2011 World Cup," the official said.

While asked about his desire to captain the team, Afridi earlier told a leading Urdu daily, "That is my ambition because it is an honour to lead your country."

Afridi also admitted that at one stage when he was not scoring runs during the last two years, was so frustrated that had seriously thought about ending his career.

"But it was my bowling that kept me going because my bowling had improved and was a big plus for the team that is why I hung on. I am happy that I have finally found my batting form in this tournament," he said.

"I told Younus I wanted to bat higher up because I was not getting enough time to settle down and play long innings. There was too much pressure on me to go and just start hitting out. He said if I had confidence I should bat higher up," Afridi added.

Afridi is now destined to a hero's welcome back home when he returns to Karachi on Monday.