Pakistan not ready for WC, says Afridi


KARACHI: Pakistan’s one-day captain Shahid Afridi said Friday he was not fully satisfied with preparations for next year’s World Cup, acknowledging low expectations of victory.
Afridi expressed reservations in the light of problems that have dogged Pakistan’s recent tours with players disciplined and dragged into damaging spot-fixing allegations. “I am not 100 percent satisfied with the team’s preparations for the World Cup,” Afridi told reporters at a local function.
“We’ve had problems on every tour, and although there aren’t high expectations (of winning the World Cup), as captain I’m positive and will keep on motivating the team,” said Afridi. His comments came one day after manager Intikhab Alam said Pakistan was capable of winning the World Cup — to be jointly hosted by Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka from February 19 to April 2.
Key players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammed Aamer — suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) over spot-fixing charges during the Lord’s Test against England in August — are unlikely to make the team. The trio is due to appear before an ICC commission next month and face the prospect of severe punishment, including lengthy bans.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also failed to clear wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal and all-rounder Shoaib Malik for the upcoming tour of New Zealand, reportedly because of suspicions of fixing. “You should ask the PCB and selection committee about why Kamran and Malik were not picked,” said Afridi.
“Both are good players and have been doing well in domestic matches.” Pakistan has until December 19 to select a provisional 30-man World Cup squad which should be trimmed down to 15 by January 19. Afridi said Malik was dropped from previous tours to help him win back form.
“I think he would have learnt from his mistakes,” said Afridi of Malik, who was Pakistan’s captain from April 2007 to January 2009 but has suffered some shortcomings in his game. Pakistan is placed in Group A of the 14-team competition along with defending champions Australia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Canada, New Zealand and Zimbabwe.