Former captain Shahid Afridi said that his conflict with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) affected the team’s momentum, ruining the long-term planning for the side’s improvement he had done prior to his retirement.
Afridi developed differences with coach Waqar Younis and spoke his mind when he returned from the West Indies. The PCB removed him as limited-overs captain before he announced a conditional international retirement.
The row continued with a legal battle that eventually saw Afridi fined Rs4.5 million and getting his NOC reinstated to play for Hampshire.
But Afridi rued the dispute and said it derailed development plans.
“I made many plans for the team,” said Afridi. “Misbahul Haq, Mohammad Hafeez and myself were involved in devising many strategies but all was ruined because of what happened afterwards.”
The all-rounder led the side for over a year in limited-overs cricket including a series-win over New Zealand while being knocked out in the Asia Cup, and losing against England and South Africa.
Sticks to retirement decision
Meanwhile, the all-rounder maintained his stance on his conditional retirement.
“Pakistan is my identity and my country is my priority. I will definitely return if people want me to but I can’t play with hypocrites. They are working as a lobby and are two-faced people. I’m not the type to take u-turns but I’ll wait for things to improve. I enjoy playing with people who are sincere to the game.”
‘Not responsible for West Indies defeats’
Afridi, while responding to comments made by the PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt that the all-rounder was responsible for the losses suffered in the final two One-Day Internationals, said that he was not involved in team selection.
“Everybody knows through the manager’s report that I wasn’t involved in selection because I walked away from the meeting. The chairman’s comments were really disappointing because the remarks he made don’t suit his stature. I was a hero for them after the World Cup and suddenly I became zero.”
‘Youngsters should get frequent chances’
“It’s good to include the youngsters but players like Ahmed Shehzad, Hammad Azam and Usman Salahuddin have potential and should get more chances.”
Afridi confirmed that he will be rejoining Hampshire on August 3.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2011.