Pakistan T20I captain Shahid Afridi has spoken of pressure from friends and family who think he must not hang his boots in April after the World Twenty20 in India.
When asked if he is not going to retire after the World T20, the soon-to-be 36-year-old said: “I’m not saying that. What I am saying is there is a lot of pressure on me that I shouldn’t retire from T20s. That I can play on, and as such there is no real talent coming through in Pakistan whose place I am taking.”
Meanwhile, the all-rounder clarified that his main focus is on the World T20 which will pose a great challenge for him.
“For a while now there is a lot of pressure from my family, a lot of pressure from my friends, including my elders, who say there is no need for me to retire from Twenty20,” said Afridi as quoted by ESPNcricinfo. “That is a huge pressure. For now, in truth, I am focusing only on the World Cup. That is a huge challenge for me.”
Afridi further said he is completely fit but he wants to see where Pakistan stand after the world event in India to reconsider his retirement decision.
“First I want to see where Pakistan stand in the World Cup,” he said. “Whether I am capable of taking the team forward on the back of my performances; I want to check where I am standing myself. As far as playing goes my fitness is zabardast [awesome]. Energy is also there. I can play cricket. But I would be able to tell things clearly after the World T20,” he added.
Afridi was one of the main performers in Pakistan’s 2009 World T20 triumph. He has represented the country in all five World T20s and has the most international caps i.e. 90.
As far as his individual performance is concerned, he has taken 91 wickets, the most in the shortest format, and has an economy rate of 6.66 – third best after West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine and Pakistani off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.
His captaincy record, meanwhile, is pretty ordinary with 16 wins and 19 losses in a total of 35 outings for Pakistan.
In the recently concluded Pakistan Super League, Afridi led the Peshawar Zalmi side into the play-offs but wasn’t able to inspire the franchise into the final.
Hampshire sign Afridi for NatWest T20 Blast
Afridi has been inducted into the Hampshire team for the NatWest T20 Blast.
‘I am very pleased to be returning to Hampshire,” said Afridi as quoted by the Daily Mail. “I really enjoyed my previous spells there and I’m looking forward to spending some time on the beautiful south coast and playing some serious cricket in front of the Hampshire fans at the Ageas Bowl.”
Hampshire director of cricket Giles White said: “This year it has been a challenge to get the top players over for significant periods of the Blast so we are delighted that he is available for the entire tournament.
“Shahid made a huge impression last time he was with us and his return is a major boost ahead of our T20 campaign.”