Afridi back for Tests

Shahid Afridi has been persuaded by the Pakistani management to continue playing Tests in the lead-up to the 2007 World Cup. Following recent conversations with coach Bob Woolmer and PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, Afridi has been told that he will be a crucial part of the Pakistan squad for the coming year’s Tests.

Afridi recently cancelled a planned appearance for Ireland in the C&G Trophy in England to be with his sick daughter, and family reasons were thought to be one of the reasons for his ‘retirement’ when it was announced a fortnight ago. Shaharyar has revealed that Afridi was also suffering from the “pressure of performing in front of a crowd” when he batted, despite his outstanding recent Test performances.

The reversal of the decision comes as little surprise to some, who had seen the ‘retirement’ in the first place as something of a shock – there were even suggestions that it had been a spur-of-the-moment decision after a dressing-room argument. Whatever the reason for the decision, Afridi will now be available for Pakistan’s eagerly-awaited series in England this summer, and all subsequent Tests.

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