Mohali: Shahid Afridi said he was no longer up to captaining Pakistan after his team's exit from the World Twenty20 on Friday, but held back from making an announcement on his possible retirement. Going into the match against Australia, the 36-year-old had strongly hinted it would be his last appearance for his country after nearly two decades of international cricket.
Shahid Afridi at the PCA Stadium in Mohali yesterday. Pic/PTI
Hang on, guys
But Afridi, who quit as Pakistan's Test captain back in 2010 and has also already called time on his ODI career, said he still felt fit enough to carry on playing at the highest level. "I will announce it in my country. Whatever is better for the country, I will go with that," Afridi said at the post-match ceremony in Mohali when asked if he was going to retire. "I will see my form. There is pressure, media pressure. As a player, I am fit. As a captain, I am not fit," he added after the 21-run defeat against Australia. Afridi is highest wicket-taker in the history of Twenty20 cricket with 97.
Kashmir quote again
The man known as "Boom Boom" for his explosive batting, has also hit a record-breaking number of sixes in all three formats since making his international debut in October 1996.
Meanwhile, unfazed by the criticism he drew for mentioning Kashmir in the previous match, Afridi yesterday thanked supporters from the valley for turning up to cheer his team. "I want to thank the people of Kolkata (the venue of a previous World T20 match against India) for supporting us.
"I thank people who came and supported us from Pakistan and Kashmir. I also want to thank the BCCI for taking good care of us in India," Afridi said in the post-match presentation after Pakistan's 21-run loss to Australia, drawing a loud applause from the stands.
In the previous match against New Zealand, Afridi had similarly thanked supporters from Kashmir during the toss, a comment that was criticised by BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur, who said that Afridi's comment was "not politically correct."