Sunday, September 12, 2010

Angry Afridi cuts Irfan down to size

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi called for the review system to be introduced into one-day internationals but saved his strongest criticism for Mohammad Irfan after another loss to England. In what turned out to be a tense finish, England won the second one-day international yesterday by four
wickets with three balls to spare as they went 2-0 up in their five-match series against Pakistan.

But the result might have been different had not 7ft seamer Irfan, positioned at short fine leg, dropped a glance from Andrew Strauss when the England captain had made just 23. It was a costly error with Strauss going on to make 126 as England, replying to Pakistan's 294 for eight, finished on 295 for six.

Strauss also appeared to be given another reprieve on 38 when wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, changing direction and diving full length to his right, held what he thought was a one-handed catch off fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar.

But the decision review system (DRS), increasingly common in Test cricket, has yet to be introduced into the one-day international format and Pakistan were unable to challenge West Indian umpire Billy Doctrove's not out verdict.

Afridi, asked if DRS should feature in limited overs internationals, replied: "It will be good in matches like this and big series like this.

"It's important in cricket now. I know in Twenty20 you don't have much time but in one-day cricket you would." But Strauss said: "I wasn't sure it hit my glove. The umpires are there to make a decision." Any thoughts about DRS in one-day cricket would have been stilled if Irfan had caught Strauss.

Poor fielding has plagued Pakistan for several years and Afridi's patience is clearly at an end. "I'm really disappointed with this guy (Irfan)," he said. "Cricket is not all about just batting and bowling, nowadays fielding is very important.

Maybe if he is good in the field I will give him a chance but otherwise I am not happy." But Pakistan, with Kamran Akmal making 74 and Asad Shafiq a maiden fifty, at least ran England close.

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