Steve Smith-led Australia beat Pakistan by 21 runs on Friday to halt their campaign in the ICC World T20 2016. Losing three matches on the trot, Pakistan were ousted from the big tournament and skipper Shahid Afridi hinted for his retirement amid disappointment.
In the current time-frame, when Pakistan cricket team is struggling, Afridi’s absence will add salt to injuries. A game-changer in all formats, the 36-year-old batsman is still a heavy-hitter and earned a tag of ‘Boom-Boom Afridi’ from his fans.
Although the right-hander from Khyber Agency, Afridi has not confirmed his retirement yet, and the Pakistan Cricket Board may have the final say. Speaking in the post-match ceremony, Afridi hinted that the final say will come within the next week.
“When I go back home, in the first 4-5 days I will make the decision (retirement). I will announce it in my country. Whatever is better for the country, I will go with that. I will see my form,” said the Pakistan skipper.
Scoring 90 runs and claiming 4 wickets in his last four matches of the World T20, Afridi led a counter-attack for Pakistan. In his T20 international career, Afridi has scored 1405 runs in 98 matches and has taken 97 wickets, bowling in 96 innings.
Afridi expressed his wish to play more, though he agrees with the fact that his age has started creating anxiety. “There is pressure, media pressure. As a player, I am fit. As a captain, I am not fit. I have enjoyed my captaincy,” he added.
Shaky from the start of calendar year – 2016, Pakistan first lost to New Zealand in a T20I series (2-1), then lost two matches in Asia Cup and concluded with three consecutive defeats at the World T20. Amidst their struggling span, if Afridi opts retirement then the future of cricket in Pakistan will be darker than ever before.