Jones steps in after Afridi is forced to pull out of Hong Kong Sixes

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2007, 12:00am

Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi has pulled out of the World All-Stars team for this weekend's sold-out Cathay Pacific/Standard Chartered Hong Kong International Sixes.

Afridi is involved in the one-day series against South Africa, and had informed organisers of his unavailability. He will be replaced by former England wicketkeeper Geraint Jones.

'Afridi was originally only picked for the first three one-day internationals, but he has now been named for the whole series,' said a spokesman for the organisers yesterday.

Afridi figured in Pakistan's line-up in yesterday's third day-night international against South Africa in Faisalabad. The remaining matches in the five-match series will be played on Friday and next Monday.

With the series level at 1-1, the Pakistan Cricket Board decided not to release Afridi to play for the All-Stars, who will be captained by Australian Shane Warne.

The All-Stars, a new addition to the annual tournament at the Kowloon Cricket Club, have already been hit by one pull-out - Indian opener Virender Sehwag dropping out due to domestic commitments. The other teams in the tournament are defending champions South Africa, England, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand and hosts Hong Kong.

Apart from Warne, the other players in the All-Stars line-up are Brian Lara, Glenn McGrath, Craig McMillan, Heath Streak and Anil Kumble.

The world's top test run-getter Lara was expected to keep wicket originally, but with specialist Jones in the team, the West Indian will play primarily as a batsman. But Lara will be expected to bowl, too, and he could struggle in this department.

Afridi, Lara, McMillan and Streak were also expected to turn up today at a 10-overs match between the two teams representing the sponsors at the Hong Kong Cricket Club. But this has been put off until tomorrow.