Afridi quits international cricket

KARACHI: Flamboyant Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has announced to quit international cricket in protest of his removal from the captaincy of the national one-day team and said he will not consider to return till the present board under the chairmanship of Ijaz Butt is in place.

"The people have given me lot of respect and love and I don’t want to waste that working with this board who don’t know how to respect players," an angry Afridi said.

In a scathing attack on the Pakistan cricket Board, Afridi, 31, described the current set of administrators as "disgraceful people".

Afridi, who announced to quit international cricket to protest the board’s decision of removing him as the captain of the one-day team, told Geo News channel that nothing is greater to him than his self-respect.

The experienced all rounder said till the present board under the chairmanship of Butt is in place, he will not play international cricket.

"I want to make it clear that till this board is there I will not play international cricket. When it goes and if people want me to play on I will consider a comeback."

However, Afridi said he will continue to play in domestic and league matches.

"I will continue to play domestic and league cricket but not international cricket… It is not worth my while under this board which gave me no reason nor did it bother to hear me out before sacking me as captain," he said.

"I don’t want to work with such disgraceful people. I don’t know on what grounds they sacked me as captain. I worked hard on building up a broken team and turned it into a fighting combination. We played in the World Cup semi-final and yet they sacked me without hearing me out."

The retirement follows on the heels of Afridi’s sacking as ODI captain despite Pakistan’s 3-2 success against West Indies.

Though the board did not any give official reason for the removal, it was believed to be the result of growing differences Afridi had with coach Waqar Younis, in particular over matters of selection.

Afridi also claimed there was a group of people belonging to the Punjab province in Lahore who had always been against him.

"This group has always kept on working against me. They are the ones who keep on filling the chairman’s ears against me. Maybe they don’t want me to play because I get in the way of their plans."

The all rounder also alleged that as the captain he was never consulted in selection of teams, nor was he sure about his captaincy before a series till the last moment.

"This board never gave me a feeling of assurance that I would be captain. I would not know before a series until the last few days whether I was going to be captain and I can’t continue to play under these circumstances."

Afridi also made it clear that he had spoken to some of his elders and seniors before taking his retirement decision and they supported him.

It was after returning from the West Indies that Afridi ruffled the board feathers when he told the media he did not like people interfering in his work – an obvious reference to row with head coach Waqar Younis over selection issues.

After issuing him a notice for speaking to the media on team issues in contravention of the players code of conduct, the board while announcing the squad for the one-day series against Ireland replaced Afridi as captain with test captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who on Monday led Pakistan to a 2-0 win over Ireland.

Afridi, after he was sacked for captaincy, pulled out of the series against Ireland telling the board he wanted to stay with his father who was under treatment in the United States, but he reached England from the US and on Monday made his retirement announcement from London.

He also defended his statement, saying he had only spoken the truth and nothing else.

"I didn’t speak against anyone nor did I criticise anyone by name. What I said was for betterment of team. But if they don’t want me to speak the truth than I can’t accept working with such people," he said.

"I didn’t want any problem what I said was keeping in the benefits of the team. I can’t continue to play under a board that does not respect senior players," he added.

Afridi last year had already retired from Test cricket after losing the first test to Australia at Lords.

Afridi in the 325 ODIs, he played, has scored 6695 at an average of 23.49, but at a staggering strike rate of 113.82.

He also bagged 315 wickets at an average of 34.22. He holds the record of the fastest ODI century in 37 balls.

In 43 T20s, he managed 683 runs and got 53 scalps.

The all rounder has played 27 Tests in which he scored 1716 runs (avg 36.51) and garnered 48 wickets (avg 35.50).(PTI)

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