Karachi:Pakistan flamboyant allrounder Shahid Afridi will have to start firing as a batsman quickly to save his place in the national team.
Sources in the team have confirmed that captain Shoaib Malik and coach Geoff Lawson have not been in favour of having Afridi in their One-day or Twenty20 teams but have met with stiff resistance from chief selector, Salahuddin Ahmed who has remained a strong supporter of the experienced allrounder.
But the situation has changed now as Salahuddin sent his resignation to the Board in protest over the replacement of Saeed Ajmal by rookie batsman Shoaib Khan in the team which is playing in the four-nation event in Toronto, without the knowledge of the selectors.
"With Salahuddin gone, Afridi now has to start getting runs quickly to save his place in the side or he is gone," one source said.
"Malik has always felt that Afridi is not performing as a batsman for a long time and with allrounder Fawad Alam maturing and other youngsters knocking on the doors of the national team, they must be given a chance," the source said.
Afridi has been performing well with the ball and even in Toronto in both matches he delivered the goods.
But even he admits that he wants to be known as a batting allrounder rather than a bowling allrounder.
"I know I am short of runs and I need a big innings. But it is very difficult to go out there to play big innings when a few balls are remaining and you have no option but to hit every ball," Afridi told reporters in Toronto.
"I want to open the innings as I have opened the batting in the past and it gives you a chance to settle down and then bang the ball around," he said.
But sources say it might be difficult for Afridi to convince the team management to send him in as an opener in the remaining matches as the specialist opener, Khalid Latif who has gone to Toronto also has yet to get a chance.
Afridi, 28, still holds the record for the fastest one-day international hundred when he made a 37 balls hundred against Sri Lanka in Nairobi in 1996.