Friday, 27 December 2013 00:00
Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan allrounder, has returned home to be with his unwell daughter and will miss the fifth and final ODI against Sri Lanka in the UAE. He had also withdrawn from his contract with South African franchise Knights last week for the same reason.
Afridi was set to fly to Pakistan on Thursday, and has a two-month gap until his next international assignment - Pakistan have no limited-over cricket until the Asia Cup in February, followed by World Twenty20 in March. PCB confirmed in the early hours of Thursday that Afridi is “returning home due to his illness of his daughter”
Pakistan have already clinched the five-match ODI series 3-1, but Afridi has remained off-colour with the ball, averaging 30.80 in the four games. He has played a couple of cameos with the bat, though, with 34 off 12 balls and 30 off 15 in the first and second ODI respectively.
With Pakistan having unassailable series lead, his exclusion won’t hurt Pakistan too much, and will allow the team management to test its bench strength. Anwar Ali is the strongest candidate to replace Afridi. The PCB hasn’t announced any replacement for him, deciding to stick with the remaining squad.