Islamabad: Shahid Afridi has given his support to struggling Misbah-ul-Haq as skipper for next year's World Cup after initially creating controversy over the captaincy. (PCB Chief Blasts 'Irresponsible' Shahid Afridi Over Captaincy Statement)
Afridi irked Pakistan Cricket Board officials on Sunday by saying after the third one-day international loss to Australia that the PCB should decide now who will lead the team in next year's tournament.
Regular skipper Misbah opted to sit out on Sunday because of his loss of batting form. Afridi, as stand-in captain, couldn't prevent Australia from winning by one run and sweeping the series 3-0.
"Afridi knows what he should say and what he shouldn't, and in my opinion the things he said were irresponsible," PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said on Tuesday.
The PCB had already announced Misbah as captain until the World Cup, and Khan said Afridi's comments created only "doubts in the minds of people."
Afridi issued a statement later Tuesday, throwing his weight behind Misbah's captaincy. ('I am Not Misbah-ul-Haq, I am Shahid Afridi')
"I have always backed him (Misbah) to the optimum whenever I have played under him, just as he had when I had the honor to captain the Pakistan team," Afridi said.
Afridi also underlined that captaining Pakistan was not an easy task.
"Trust me, it (captaincy) is no bed of roses ... seldom do we get bouquets but more often brickbats," he said.
Khan said that Misbah, the world's leading run-scorer in ODIs last year, had the full backing of the PCB despite a dip in form that started with the series against Sri Lanka.
Misbah has at least five tests to regain his form before Pakistan plays its next one-day international against New Zealand in December.
However, Khan added that "Misbah feels if he can't find his batting form in these five (test) matches, he will step down from the captaincy."
Khan also said the PCB has a contingency plan in case Misbah is ruled out of the World Cup. He declined to say if that included Afridi, who led Pakistan to the semifinals of the 2011 World Cup.
"We have already thought about it, I am not going to name him, but there are quite a few (in the running for captaincy)," Khan said.