Shahid Afridi announces early retirement
By Rizwan Khatik - Tue May 31, 5:08 am
KARACHI: Flamboy ant Pakistani all-rounderShahid Afridi announced an early retirement from international cricket, in protest against his removal from the captaincy of the national one-day team.
“The people have given me lot of respect and love and I don’t want to waste that working with this board who don’t know how to respect players,” an angry Afridi said.
In a scathing attack on the Pakistan Cricket Board, Afridi described the current set of administrators as a disgrace to Pakistan cricket.
Afridi who announced his retirement from all international cricket as a protest against the board for removing him as captain of the national one-day team told Geo News channel that nothing was greater to him than his self-respect.
The experienced all-rounder said until the present board under the chairmanship of Ijaz Butt was in place he would not play international cricket.
“I will continue to play domestic and league cricket but not international cricket but it is not worth my while under this board which gave me no reason nor did it bother to hear me out before sacking me as captain,” he said.
“I don’t want to work with such disgraceful people. I don’t know on what grounds they sacked me as captain. I worked hard on building up a broken team and turned it into a fighting combination. We played in the World Cup semifinal and yet they sacked me without hearing me out.”
Afridi also claimed that there was a group of people belonging to the Punjab province in Lahorewho had always been against him.
“This group has always kept on working against me. They are the ones who keep on filling the chairman’s ears against me. Maybe they don’t want me to play because I get in the way of their plans.”
Afridi also claimed that as captain he was never consulted in selection of teams nor was he sure about his captaincy before a series until the last moment.
“This board never gave me a feeling of assurance that I would be captain. I would not know before a series until the last few days whether I was going to be captain and I can’t continue to play under these circumstances.”
Afridi also made it clear that he had spoken to some of his elders and seniors before taking his retirement decision and they supported him.
“I want to make it clear that till this board is there I will not play international cricket. When it goes and if people want me to play on I will consider a comeback,” he added.
The retirement announcement came just a few days after the board chairman, Ijaz Butt had in a surprising move sacked the all-rounder as captain of the national limited overs team although Afridi had led the team to the World Cup semifinals and to a 3-2 win over the West Indies in the Caribbean.
It was after returning from the West Indies that Afridi ruffled the board feathers when he told the media that he didn’t like people interfering in his work an obvious reference to an ongoing row with head coach, Waqar Younis over selection issues.
After issuing him a notice for speaking to the media on team issues in contravention of the players code of conduct the board while announcing the squad for the one-day series against Irelandreplaced Afridi as captain with Test captain, Misbah-ul-Haq who on Monday led Pakistan to a 2-0 win over Ireland.
Afridi after the sack also pulled out of the series against Ireland telling the board that he wanted to stay with his father who was under treatment in the United States.
Afridi defended his statement saying he had only spoken the truth and nothing else.
“I didn’t speak against anyone nor did I criticize anyone by name. What I said was for betterment of team. But if they don’t want me to speak the truth than I can’t accept working with such people,” he said.
“I didn’t want any problems what I said was keeping in the benefits of the team. I can’t continue to play under a board that does not respect senior players,” he added.
Afridi had last year already retired from Test cricket after losing the first Test to Australia at Lords.
Afridi after his sacking also pulled out of the series against Ireland telling the board that he wanted to stay with his father who was under treatment in the United States.
But the all-rounder reached England from the US and on Monday made his retirement announcement from London.
Afridi who played 325 ODIs and 27 Tests told the channel that whatever he had said on returning home was in the better interests of the team.