Former skipper Pakistan cricket team Shahid Khan Afridi has announced retirement from international cricket here late on Monday.
According to sources, Afridi’s disagreement with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) over some issues resulted in his early retirement.
He said it was hard for him to play under a cricket board, which pays no respect to senior players.
He was, however, axed as captain despite Pakistan’s 3-2 success in the ODI series, and replaced by Misbah-ul-Haq who has been in charge of the Test side as well. Though the board did not give official reasons for the removal, it was believed to be the result of growing differences Afridi had with coach Waqar Younis, in particular over matters of selection.
“We had very solid reasons to remove Afridi and I will reveal them when the time is right,” PCB chairman Ijaz Butt had said. “We haven’t taken this action without any reasons.”
On his return from the Caribbean, Afridi referred to the situation with Waqar, saying, “Although the differences in team management are not such which could not be solved, I feel everyone should do his job and need not interfere in other’s work”. That led to the board issuing him a showcause notice to explain his remarks, and presumably formed part of the reasons for his removal. Subsequently Afridi decided to pull out of the two ODIs against Ireland; speculation was that he was unhappy over his ouster, though he said it was because of his father’s ill-health.
Afridi first announced a temporary sabbatical from Test cricket in April 2006, in a bid to concentrate only on ODI cricket in the lead-up to the 2007 World Cup. But, in a typically Pakistani twist, Afridi said that he would reconsider his ‘retirement’ from Tests after the World Cup. He later returned to the side, and even led Pakistan’s Test side at the start of their tumultuous tour of England last summer. He however once againretired from the longest format, as soon as Pakistan lost the first Test against Australia. Afridi was out to a poor stroke, holing out against part-timer Marcus North who ran through the Pakistan line-up.
“With my temperament I can’t play Test cricket,” Afridi said then. “It is better a youngster comes in my place, probably a genuine batsman or even a genuine bowler. I wasn’t interested in playing Test cricket but the board asked me to go and take a look as they didn’t have a choice. But I wasn’t really enjoying Test cricket but I tried. I wasn’t good enough. A captain should lead by example which I did not.”
Afridi was replaced by the then vice-captain Salman Butt, who held the reins until the spot-fixing scandal, before Misbah’s hitherto successful regime began. Afridi stayed in charge in the shorter versions, and was in charge as Pakistan outperformed in the lead-up to and during the World Cup.