After two decades of international cricket and some below par performances recently, Pakistan cricket fans have been left wondering when Shahid Afridi will call time on his career.
If former teammate and one-time ‘fastest bowler in the world’, Mohammad Zahid, is to be believed, ‘Boom Boom’ is not ‘going anywhere’.
Afridi stepped down as captain of Pakistan’s Twenty20 team in the wake of a disastrous World T20 campaign, but vowed to continue playing in the shortest format.
And Zahid, who played with Afridi in the late 90s and early 2000s, said the all-rounder still deserved a place in the shorter formats of the game and would not go away without a fight.
“Shahid Afridi may have stepped down as captain of the Twenty20 team but rest assured, he isn’t going anywhere; he’ll still be around,” Zahid wrote in his blog for Pakipassion.
“Now personally speaking, I still feel he has a place in the shorter formats of the game but I am also sure that he will do his utmost to retain a position in the team and he won’t just walk away.”
According to Zahid, who is now settled in England, incoming Twenty20 captain Sarfraz Ahmed had a massive task ahead of him as it was not ‘easy to work with Pakistan players’.
“Let me say quite bluntly that it’s going to be one hell of a tough job for Sarfraz Ahmed as captain. All I can say is good luck, but it will be a big, big job for him. Time will tell, but the squad is likely to stay the same – perhaps one or two previously dropped players will return.”
“It’s not an easy job to work with Pakistan players, so all I can say is that I’m a little apprehensive about the challenges that Sarfraz is likely to face in his new role.”
“Grouping has always existed in Pakistan teams and there are always some very dirty politics at play. Everyone denies it all the time, they are all used to denying it, but it definitely goes on.”
The Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday announced Sarfraz as new captain of the T20 team after Afridi stepped down.
A statement on the PCB website described Ahmed — who led the Quetta Gladiators to the final in Pakistan’s first-ever franchise-based T20 league in February — as a “natural choice” for the position.