KARACHI: While the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has dismissed speculation that Waqar Younis’ decision to resign as coach is to pave way for the return of former captain Shahid Afridi, the all-rounder himself has ruled out reconsidering his retirement for the time being.
Waqar, who was appointed as the head coach last year, surprisingly announced that he will step down after the upcoming Zimbabwe tour. The move has raised questions whether Afridi, who announced a conditional retirement, will return to international cricket.
Afridi and Waqar developed differences over team selection with reports emerging after the former captain returned to Pakistan at the conclusion of the limited-overs leg of the West Indies tour.
Afridi announced his retirement citing differences with the management and stated that he will not return under the current PCB setup.
While Waqar made it clear that his decision is a personal one, Afridi has also ruled out an immediate return to international cricket and said that things needed to get better.
“I’ve always said that I am what I am today because of my national team, which is my identity,” said Afridi.
“I cannot explain the pain of missing so many assignments. I’m itching to make a return but I have to wait for the circumstances to get better.”
However, Afridi termed the recent developments in the team management – that also saw manager Intikhab Alam being removed – as positive.
“Things are getting better and hopefully they would improve further,” said Afridi.
Afridi was also sceptical at the reasons cited by Waqar behind his resignation. “I cannot understand it. If he [Waqar] has health issues than how he is he supervising the team’s training camp?
“There must be some other issue which should be resolved.”
‘Waqar not forced to resign’
Meanwhile, a PCB official denied that Waqar’s move was part of a plan to insist Afridi to make a return to international cricket.
“Not a single change in team management is linked to the Afridi saga,” a PCB official told The Express Tribune.
“Inikhab [Alam] and Aaqib [Javed] were removed from the team management because they were required in the academies.
“Waqar was also not forced to quit as it was his personal decision. There were some genuine health reasons because of which the PCB agreed to accept his resignation.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2011.
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