KARACHI: Former Pakistan T20 captain Shahid Afridi’s dream of being accorded a graceful ‘retirement’ from international cricket during the upcoming three-match series against the West Indies has been abruptly put on a backburner, at least for the time being.
According to conflicting media reports, the 36-year-old all-rounder wanted the Pakistan Cricket Board to accord him a graceful exit after being sidelined since failing to lead the national side beyond the preliminary-round of the ICC World Twenty20 in India earlier in the year.
Having already quit playing Tests after a short-lived comeback in 2010 before retiring from the ODI format following Pakistan’s quarter-final loss to Australia at the 2015 World Cup, Afridi last Thursday hinted at a possible agreement with the PCB to get at least a farewell game against the West Indies.
But the national selection committee, headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq, having already finalised a 15-man squad for the forthcoming fixtures at Dubai (Sept 23 and 24) and Abu Dhabi (Sept 27), the PCB decided against including Afridi as the 16th player.
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Afridi, who met Inzamam in a bid to convince the former national skipper, said last week: “We don’t have a tradition of retiring [big name] players gracefully which makes it tough to retire on a high.
“Players must exit respectfully since some of them deserve such an honour. If that happen it will be good and set new precedents.”
Quashing reports of putting pressure on the PCB to be included in the Pakistan squad, Afridi further stated: “There is an impression in the media for the past couple of days that I have asked [the Board] to be given a match so that I can quit gracefully.
“This is completely incorrect. If I really wanted to leave, I would have left after the World Twenty20 but I did not want to go that way. Having played for so many years, I have earned the right to leave the game in a good way.”
It must be mentioned here that Afridi apparently had planned to quit after the World Twenty20, a fact that was confirmed by PCB chairman Shaharyar M. Khan earlier.
Moreover, before the tournament started Afridi said that he was reconsidering his retirement plans due to huge pressure from close friends and family.
Meanwhile, PCB executive committee chief Najam Sethi on Saturday tweeted from England, where he is on vacation, that Afridi along with Saeed Ajmal will be given fitting send-offs in a charity match.
In a response to a media query, Sethi tweeted: “PCB will honour Afridi and Ajmal in fitting send-offs. I will meet and discuss this with them next week.”