Pakistan’s flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi has skipped the fifth and final One-day International against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, scheduled to be held tomorrow, and returned home.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement that Afridi had been given permission to return home because of “illness” of his daughter, but reliable sources in the team said that another reason for him to opt out of the last ODI was because Pakistan have already won the series and he wanted the team management to give exposure to the youngsters.
“Afridi felt that youngsters like Anwar Ali and Haris Sohail who have not got a chance to play as yet in the one-day series needed to be given some exposure as well and if he rested for one match this could be possible,” one source said.
The former captain has in the past also pushed for giving youngsters exposure in matches instead of just taking them on tours and not playing them.
Afridi contributed with bat and ball in Pakistan’s One-day series win over the hapless Sri Lankans against whom Muhammad Hafeez has notched up three hundreds.
Pakistan have taken an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-ODI series over Sri Lanka.
The source said Afridi had spoken to manager Moin Khan and requested to be released before the final one-dayer so that he could also return to Karachi to be with his daughter.