Former national cricket team captain Shahid Afridi said on Saturday that he was disappointed by criticism of his captaincy from Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ijaz Butt, who accused him of causing the team to lose matches against West Indies in May.

“I am disappointed because such petty things coming from the head of the board were unwarranted,” Afridi told AFP by telephone from London.

“He himself made me captain, and everyone, from experts to fans, praised my leadership and the unity in the team,” he said, adding that there was a “campaign” to damage his reputation.

Butt lashed out at former one-day captain Afridi in a television interview aired on Thursday, saying Afridi will not lead the team again.

“In my opinion, perhaps considered wrong by some people, he made us lose the fourth and fifth one-dayers (against the West Indies in May this year),” Butt had said.

“As far as I am concerned he is not captaincy material for the PCB anymore.”

Butt dumped Afridi after Pakistan won the one-day series against the West Indies 3-2, during which the former captain developed differences with the coach Waqar Younis and made public statements which violated the PCB’s rules.

Afridi subsequently breached his contract by announcing his retirement from international cricket and criticising the PCB for mistreating senior players.

The PCB suspended his contract, revoked permission to play abroad and directed him to appear before a disciplinary committee.

Afridi responded by taking the PCB to court but finally agreed on an out-of-court settlement that saw him fined Rs4.5 million but granted him permission to play for Hampshire in the Twenty20 league in England.

Afridi said he was a victim of character assassination.

“There is a campaign against me and I can say a lot of things against my accusers, but I am advised not to say anything. I reserve my rights, and will speak if they don’t stop,” Afridi said.

Afridi said that the team had showed unity under his captaincy following the spot-fixing scandal in England last year.

“The unity in the team was praised by the coach (Waqar) and the manager (Intikhab Alam) on a number of occasions during the World Cup, and it was only because of that we were able to beat Australia in a World Cup match after 12 years,” he said.

Afridi confirmed he will be playing league cricket in Australia later this year.

Source: Express Tribune

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