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Afridi named Pakistan T20 Skipper

Shahid Afridi's dream of leading the Pakistan team came true as the glitzy all-rounder was today appointed skipper for the Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka in next month.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) today ready an announcement to this effect but there was no mention whether Afridi would continue at the rudder of the country's T20 team.

"The chairman of the board, Ejaz Butt, has selected Afridi to lead Pakistan for the international against Sri Lanka," a spokesman for the PCB said. "A decision on future Twenty20 matches would be taken later on."

Afridi's slot came as Younis Khan stepped down after leading Pakistan to the Twenty20 World Cup glory in England last month. Younis Khan made it clear that he considered himself too old for the T20 format of the game and would not take back his decision.

Afridi, who connected the touring squad for the ODI series and the T20 tie last week, had earlier made it clear that it was his lifetime ambition to lead Pakistan in at least one international match.

The five-match ODI series is starting in Dambulla tomorrow, while Pakistan will play the only T20 match on 12th August in Colombo.

Afridi has captained his city, local and departmental teams in domestic cricket with mixed success.

"The decision reflects that the board and selectors are concerned about future of regular vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq in the Pakistan team particularly for limited-over cricket," one source said.

He has played in 23 Twenty20 internationals, scoring 371 runs at an average of 19.52, as well as claiming 33 dismissals at an extraordinary average of 15.57.

Sourav Ganguly back as KKR captain


Former India captain Sourav Ganguly is likely to lead the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the 3rd edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Sourav Ganguly led in the inaugural tournament in 2008, but was controversially replaced by Brendon McCullum in 2009 - a decision that the then coach John Buchanan made.

Ganguly met authorization owner Shahrukh Khan in England when he was there to watch the ICC World Twenty20 Championship, and they talk about captaincy as well as appointment of the new coach of the team for the next season of the twenty20 IPL tournament.

According to sources, the KKR management will like to declare the decision later in the middle of August once the new coach is appointed. Though team management prefers Dave Whatmore for the job, Ganguly prefers John Wright.

The conclusion has come about because McCullum is likely to busy for a large part of the tournament since he will be on duty for New Zealand.

MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh to play in Corporate Trophy


A galaxy of the country's peak players, including skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, are likely to take part in the inaugural Corporate Trophy limited overs tournament to be held from September 1 to 8.

Six centres: Chennai, Bangalore, Mohali, Cuttack, Dharamsala and Delhi have been short listed as venues and the draw and fixtures are expected to be announced by the BCCI on July 27.

The BCCI has already finalized 12 teams, including two from Air India, and four more corporates could be added to the line-up, in a tournament that will be boost for the upcoming short tour of Sri Lanka.

The Lanka-bound cricketers are expected to feel a short conditioning camp, either in Bangalore or Chennai, lasting four or five days at the end of August before they stand for their respective companies in the Corporate Trophy, according to BCCI sources.

Among the AI players who are expected to play Dhoni, showy batsman Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh as well as Irfan Pathan.

Miandad: T20 is 'fast food' & a bad habit


T20 is a 'fast food', bad habit and is posturing a major threat to Test cricket in the sub-continent, feels former Pakistan Test captain Javed Miandad.

Miandad spoken concerns over suggestions from the ICC to decrease Test cricket matches to four-days and introduce colored balls and colored clothing under lights in the traditional format of the sport.

"There is no doubt that Twenty20 cricket is undermining Test cricket and they are many reasons for this, take India's example. Players like Yousuf Pathan are more popular than most of his more illustrious teammates because Twenty20 cricket is in these days. It is just like fast food, a bad habit," Javed Miandad said.

Miandad, however, felt that the future of Test cricket faced no threat in countries like England, South Africa, Australia where it was still popular.

"It is in countries like Pakistan and India where it is under threat. One reason for this is also economic conditions of the people. Everything is so expensive for our masses," he said.

There have been suggestions from the ICC President, David Morgan about reducing Tests to four day matches instead of the traditional five days.

Morgan has said that Test cricket faces a challenge from the growing popularity of twenty20 cricket and there is a need to look at revamping the traditional format of the game.

However, Miandad cautioned the ICC against trying to change the traditional format of the game.

"Any moves to reduce the number of days in a Test or introduce night matches and colored balls will only prove counter-productive," he said.

The former Test captain said instead of taking measures that can threaten the spirit of the game the ICC should be looking at other ways to ensure all forms of the game survive together properly.

"The ICC should involve more former players in consultations and find ways to keep interest in Test cricket alive. As it is now Test cricket is about 90 overs a day you can't do more to get results," he said.

"Test cricket must remain the way it is or else cricket will lose its special appeal to the people as well. Cricket lovers want to see Test matches," he said.