Former Pakistan T20I captain Shahid Afridi might not get the farewell match he wanted during the upcoming tour of West Indies to the UAE for a three-match series.
According to sources, the 36-year-old will not be included in the already announced 15-man squad as the 16th player — a move proposed by selection committee head Inzamamul Haq.
The probable reason cited was the absence of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan — recovering from a surgery — and executive committee head Najam Sethi, who is abroad for vacation.
Afridi, who took over as captain from all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez in September 2014, stepped down from the leadership role after dismal performances in the Asia Cup and the 2016 World T20. However, he did not hang his boots and promised a comeback in the shortest version for the national team.
Afridi led Pakistan in 24 T20Is where the team succeeded on only 11 occasions. His personal form was also unimpressive as he averaged 14.65 with the bat and took 20 wickets during the aforementioned period.With speculations rife on the possibility of one final comeback to international cricket for Afridi, the former captain had earlier told The Express Tribune that cricketers who serve the country for long periods deserve a rousing send-off and likewise he hopes to have one in the T20I format.
“We don’t have a tradition of retiring players gracefully, which makes it tough for them to decide when to call it a day since we all have a desire of exiting on a high,” he said. “Players must exit respectfully since the ones who serve the country with distinction deserve honour. I have had a discussion with Inzi Bhai [Inzamamul Haq] who is an elder to me and we will do what is beneficial to both Pakistan cricket and my own self.”
Afridi has also asked for a greater role by PCB in helping players reach amicable decisions about their retirement, since the board plays a pivotal role in determining the future of the players under its wings. “I have always maintained that cricket board is like the head of the family and rather than communicating through media, we need to have a close knit relationship with PCB officials,” he said.
The 36 year-old, who made record 98 appearances for the men in green in the shortest format, including participation in all six World T20 events played to date, once again stressed that he had every intention of quitting the game at the end of the prestigious tournament held in India earlier this year but the poor performance of the team quashed his hopes of a ‘happy ending’.
“I wanted to retire after the WorldT20 in India and unfortunately it didn’t pan out the way I or my fans had wished since we bowed out in the first round.”