After being stripped of captaincy for the Ireland tour, Shahid Afridi has announced retirement from international cricket. It is really disappointing to know the kind of internal politics that takes place in Pakistan cricket, and it reminds me of Sourav Ganguly’s retirement. While Sourav Ganguly had no option available, Afridi’s retirement seems to be an emotional one.
After a spat with coach Waqar Younis over selection of the team, PCB removed Afridi from captaincy. In all fairness, the captain should have the right to decide which team he wants to play. Afridi said that the current cricket board is difficult to play under as it pays no respect to senior players.
His retirement is a big blow to Pakistan cricket, which has already lost Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif, and Salman Butt. His swashbuckling batting style and mesmerizing bowling will be almost impossible to replace.
Afridi won many matches single handedly for Pakistan, and many tournaments, including the Twenty20 World Cup in 2009, the ODI series against New Zealand earlier this year, took Pakistan to the cricket World Cup 2011 semi-finals when many people said that Pakistan would not even qualify for the second round, and then just recently won the ODI series against West Indies.
Only PCB can explain why Afridi was removed from captaincy with such a fantastic record as captain in the last few months. And if I may add, yesterday, Pakistan nearly lost the second ODI to Ireland. Afridi’s absence is being felt already.