There was a time when Shahid Afridi's name would have been the first on Pakistan's one-day international teamsheet, but the allrounder's future looks uncertain after he was dropped for this month’s series against arch-rivals India.
The 32-year-old has endured a dreadful run of form, scoring just 85 runs in his last 10 ODI innings, prompting selectors to axe him from the 15-man squad for the three-game series starting later this month.
While Afridi has retained his spot for the two Twenty20 matches, the warning bells are ringing for the man whose dismissal has often emptied the stands in the past.
In his 349 ODIs Afridi has taken 348 wickets and scored 7,075 runs — at an electric strike rate of nearly 114 runs per 100 balls — but he has not scored a half-century in his last 10 innings.
Former Pakistan captain, Moin Khan, described Afridi’s axing as unjust.
“Afridi is an impact player,” said Khan. “He holds a psychological dominance over India so he should have been included,” he added.
Another former captain Rashid Latif insisted Afridi, Pakistan’s third most-capped one-day player of all time, could still make a comeback. “Afridi is facing tough times. Even a player like Ricky Ponting had to quit after he failed to score big,” said Latif of the former Australian captain who retired earlier this month.
“But Pakistan is different in the way that a player can stage a comeback after a good performance and Afridi can still do so,” he added.