Huh! Twitterati wonder, 'Messi's gone, when will Shahid Afridi say bye?'

Jun 27, 2016, 16:53 IST | mid-day online correspondent

Even as the world prays that Leo Messi reconsiders his decision to retire from international football, Twitterati are wondering why Pakistan veteran Shahid Afridi hasn't still bid goodbye to cricket

In what left the world shocked, Lionel Messi on Monday announced his retirement from international football after missing in a penalty shootout as Argentina lost a fourth major final in nine years.

"For me, the national team is over." he said after defeat by Chile in the Copa America final. "I've done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion."

Lionel Messi bids goodbye to international football
Lionel Messi turns his back to international football

Messi, 29, has won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues with Spanish side Barcelona. But his only major international honour is Olympic gold at the 2008 Games.

As well as losing two Copa America finals on penalties to Chile, Messi was in the Argentina side beaten 1-0 by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final. The forward, who was been awarded the Ballon d'Or five times, was also on the losing side against Brazil in the 2007 Copa America final.

"It's been four finals, I tried," added Messi, who made his debut for Argentina in 2005 and has played 113 times for his country. "It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn't get it, so I think it's over.

But even as the world mourned Messi's exit, Twitterverse -- which is a parallel universe -- saw Shahid Afridi trending. Why? Well, because people were wondering when Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi would retire permanently from the game. 

Former leg-spin great Abdul Qadir is among those. Qadir, known for his candid comments, had at a function in Lahore recently advised the flamboyant Pakistan all-rounder to say goodbye to cricket.  The legend had said that Afridi had aged and was no longer fit for top level cricket. "I don't think cricket is any longer the forte of Afridi and he should say goodbye," Qadir said. 

Twitterati seem to agree and were are their sarcastic best as they targeted the veteran Pakistan cricketer. The social media platform was abuzz with jokes on the 36-year-old all-rounder who had hinted that World T20 in 2016 would be his last. 

Afridi had asserted that though he was relinquishing his captaincy post he would be available for selection as a player in the team even. This despite PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan making it clear that the all-rounder was no longer a surety in the side.

Shahid AfridiWhen will Shahid Afridi retire from international cricket? seems to be the question on everyone's minds.

"My profound thanks to the PCB and its Chairman Shaharyar Khan who gave me the honour to lead the national team. I would also like to inform that InshaAllah I intend to continue to play the game for my country and league cricket etc. and request my fans for kindly keep praying and supporting for my best future performances for Pakistan (as a player); and in all other arenas of the game, world over."

Afridi has played in 27 Tests for Pakistan and represented the nation in 398 ODI matches.

Afridi is unlikely to find a spot in Pakistan's T20 squad in the near future, but he wants to remain in contention for a berth.

And so while the world is praying and hoping that Messi reconsiders his retirement decision, there are many who are wondering why Afridi hasn't said goodbye to the game of cricket already.

When Afridi retired. Well, almost! And then again...

Shahid Afridi first quit Test cricket in April 2006 but changed his mind by the end of the month.

Later in the summer of 2006 he quit Tests again. This time it was till 2010, when he came back as captain for a single match. After which he quit the longer format of the game for the third time.

In 2011, he announced his retirement from all international cricket because of frustration with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). He came back.

In 2012, he decided to stop playing ODI cricket but was persuaded to stay until after the 2015 World Cup, when retired from the format for good. 

Afridi was picked as captain of Pakistan for the Word T20 in 2016, and he hinted at the possibility of retiring from the game at the international level after the tournament, but he has since announced his availability for selection.

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