KARACHI: Eighteen years of entertainment and frustration later, star all-rounder Shahid Afridi announced his intention to retire from ODI cricket after the 2015 World Cup, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand in two months’ time.
The decision, which left millions of Afridi’s followers baffled, was already known to the team management and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), according to the man himself.
“I’ve decided to retire from one-day cricket after the 2015 World Cup,” said Afridi while speaking to reporters here at a local hotel.
“I always wanted to retire at my peak form, and I feel this is that time. I’ve told the team management and [captain] Misbahul Haq about my decision, and now I can play the World Cup with less pressure and do my best at the mega event.”
The 389-ODI veteran, who has often been criticised for being inconsistent, remains a double-edged sword for both his team’s chances and opponents’ plans alike, as he possesses the contrasting abilities to turn the match on its head and to melt in the background without a trace.
Still, Afridi remains one of the most recognisable names not only in Pakistan but also world cricket, and an individual to be loved – and sometimes hated – by people of all ages. His charisma is such that someone even with the least interest in cricket would take out a moment to see him batting.
“My journey has seen many ups and down, but I’m satisfied to leave on my own terms,” said the talismanic all-rounder.
“I want to thank all my seniors such as Wasim Akram, Inzamamul Haq, Moin Khan, Saeed Anwar and Ramiz Raja for their support in the early days of my career. I also want to thank former Karachi Cricket Club Association President Sirajul Islam Bukhari and my department HBL who supported me throughout.”
‘Wanted my fastest ODI ton record to remain unbroken’
The 34-year-old has managed to score 7,870 runs in his ODI career so far at an average of 23.49 and struck six centuries — the first of which remained the fastest ODI century – off 37 deliveries – for more than 17 years, which he scored against Sri Lanka in Nairobi in 1996.
The record was eventually broken by New Zealand’s Corey Anderson on the first day of 2014, as he completed a ton in 36 balls against the West Indies.
Afridi is also just nine wickets away from collecting 400 wickets in ODIs.
“The only regret I have is that I wanted to hold the record of the fastest ODI century till my retirement at least,” said Afridi. “Now I’ll try to complete landmarks of 8,000 runs and 400 wickets in the remaining one-dayers of my career.”
The former ODI skipper, who led Pakistan in three ODIs against New Zealand due to a hamstring injury to Misbah, vowed to continue playing T20 cricket after the World Cup.
“I’ll continue playing T20 cricket after the World Cup and will gladly lead Pakistan in the T20 format if the PCB wants me to,” he concluded.
Interesting facts about Afridi
is the number of balls Shahid Afridi took to score the record fastest ODI century which was later taken over by New Zealand’s Corey Anderson off 36 deliveries.
A Loud boom!
Is the number of sixes Shahid Afridi has hit throughout his ODI career, a record for the most by any batsmen.
Batsman or bowler?
is the number of wickets taken by Shahid Afridi in ODIs even after being well-known for his big bashing hits against bowlers.