Pakistan hands Afridi ODI, Test captaincy

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt has named Shahid Afridi as captain for next month's Asia Cup and two Test series against Australia and England.

Updated: May 25, 2010 14:26 IST
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Pakistan's dashing all-rounder Shahid Afridi was Tuesday named skipper for next month's Asia Cup and a following tour of England, uniting the team under one captain for all formats of the game.

The 30-year-old Afridi, who led Pakistan to a semi-final finish in the World Twenty20 this month, was seen as the natural choice for all three forms of the game and -- more importantly -- someone who can unify the players.

"Afridi will lead Pakistan in one-day and Test cricket and is our best choice," said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt.

He becomes the latest in a line of Pakistan Test captains since Shoaib Malik took over from retired Inzamam-ul-Haq in 2007, followed by Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf.

"It is a great challenge to lead the team in all forms of the game," said Afridi, made Twenty20 skipper after Younus retired from the shortest form of the game following the team's World T20 title win last year.

"I will try to do my best and take all the players as a unit and build towards winning the World Cup," said Afridi.

The 50-over tournament will be hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh between February and April next year.

Pakistan suffered a leadership crisis after several players fell out with Younus, who was forced to relinquish the captaincy and pull out of the team's tour of New Zealand in November.

Yousuf replaced Younus for New Zealand and the following tour of Australia, where the team lost all three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20, resulting in Yousuf not being retained.

Following the tour, the PCB banned Yousuf and Younus indefinitely "over infighting in the team over captaincy", while Malik and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan were banned for one year each and heavily fined.

Afridi and the Akmal brothers -- Kamran and Umar -- were also fined heavily and the trio kept under a six-month probation over breaches of discipline during the Australia tour.

Except for Yousuf, who retired in protest at the ban, all six players have appealed. A one-man arbitrator is dealing with the appeals, with the PCB on Monday promising a review of the penalties soon.

Pakistan feature in the four-nation Asia Cup in Sri Lanka from June 15-24 before proceeding to a two-and-a-half-month tour of England, where they play two Twenty20 matches and two Tests against Australia.

They then play England in four Tests, five one-day and two Twenty20 matches in a tour which finishes late September.

The PCB later named a 35-man preliminary squad for both the tours, including banned Younus Khan and Shoaib Malik, subject to their clearance from the arbitrator.

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