LAHORE

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shahryar M Khan Tuesday lashed out at irresponsible Shahid Afridi for creating confusion over the national team captaincy saying the all-rounder can face disciplinary action.

Afridi, who captained the team in the absence of regular skipper Misbahul Haq in the third and final ODI, said that the board must finally decide who will lead the team. "Misbah or me, whoever is to lead Pakistan in the World Cup 2015, he should know it now," Afridi said after Pakistan's one-run defeat at the hands of Australia who inflicted a 3-0 series whitewash on the green shirts.

Expressing disappointment over Afridi’s comments, the PCB chief said: "Afridi's statement was irresponsible. We are analysing his statement to decide whether he has violated the PCB's code of conduct for an action. Afridi's statement has created unnecessary doubt over the captaincy for next year's World Cup. I have told everyone, from Misbah to head coach Waqar Younis and chief selector/manager Moin Khan, that Misbah will be captain of the national side in the World Cup 2015."

Shahryar also pulled Afridi up on his form. "Though some people are backing Afridi as a captain for the next year’s World Cup, yet his bowling has improved, but his batting isn’t. It's up to the selectors to judge and see does Afridi deserve a place in the team," he stated.

The PCB chief said Misbah could lead or leave. "I told him, we appointed you till the World Cup. We were criticised for it and we will be now, even more, as he has not scored runs. However, we remain totally firm that we have put our support behind him and he will lead. If he thinks leadership will not deliver, then it is up to him. We told him we will not push you out. This is the view of all three of us - Waqar coach Younis and chief selector/manager Moin Khan.”

He said Misbah was determined to put things right. "If he does, he is back, but other names are of course considered as a contingency plan. "Misbah decided that he needed a break from the rather depressing scores he has had in Sri Lanka as well as here. The management also agreed that if he wanted to sit this out it is his decision. No one coerced him. He himself decided that this is the right time for him to take a break and see if he can recover in the Tests."

"He is depressed at the fact that he hasn't been scoring and I found it very noble on his part that he said: 'If the day comes when I get an idea that the team is suffering because of me, then I will myself say, let me go'."

Speaking his visits to India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the PCB chairman declared them highly successful. “I have asked India and Bangladesh to keep politics away from cricket and I also told the Indian officials that the sole purpose of my visit was to talk about cricket only.”

He said significant Indian officials have given positive response. “Though I could not meet Sri Navasan on the visit yet met with Rajiv Shukla. Navasan has assured that Indian team’s visit to Pakistan will not be conditional to officials permit.” He added Sri Lanka had offered to send their national team to Pakistan whereas associate countries Afghanistan and Ireland had also offered to visit Pakistan.

Talking about Indian media, he expressed that Indian media berated Pakistan a lot. “Our main aim is to open doors for international cricket in Pakistan. We are inviting foreign teams to play here and help us revive international cricket here,” he added.

He highlighted that there would be six series between Pakistan and arch-rivals India in the next eight years whereas Sri Lanka and Bangladesh had also offered to send their junior teams to Pakistan.

Speaking about banned cricketer M Amir, Shahryar said that he had talked about Amir in International Cricket Council (ICC)’s session and the international cricket body had informed about a few changes in the legislation that might give Amir some relaxation.

The PCB chief was quite optimistic about magical spinner Saeed Ajmal’s return to national squad for World Cup 2015. “Saqlain has given a positive report that Ajmal has managed to remodel his bowling action to within the permissible limits of the ICC. He and Ajmal are both ready to go for the informal tests. We will first send Ajmal for an informal review. Once he clears the informal test we will then ask the ICC to test out Ajmal so that he can be cleared before the World Cup."

"Ajmal is vital to our chances in the World Cup so we will follow all the permitted routes to get him cleared by the ICC,” he concluded.