Pakistan news July 16, 2010

Shahid Afridi to retire from Tests

Cricinfo staff

Shahid Afridi made the decision that seemed inevitable from the day he took over as Test captain, by announcing his Test retirement immediately after leading his side to a 150-run loss against Australia at Lord's.

Afridi has been a reluctant Test player over the years and this Test was his first in four years. A poor personal performance, capped by a four-ball 2 on the last day - out slogging to deep midwicket - didn't help matters and the second Test against Australia at Headingley, starting on Wednesday, will now be his last. Afridi's participation at Headingley, however, will depend on whether he passes a fitness test for a side strain in the days leading up to the match.

Salman Butt, the vice-captain, is likely to take over the leadership for the England series though that is not set in stone until the PCB makes a final decision. Whoever does take over will be Pakistan's fifth Test captain since the start of 2009.

"With my temperament I can't play Test cricket," Afridi said. "It is better a youngster comes in my place, probably a genuine batsman or even a genuine bowler. I picked up a side injury during the Asia Cup and unless you are 100 percent fit you can't perform in Test cricket.

"I wasn't interested in playing Test cricket but the board asked me to go and take a look as they didn't have a choice. So I took up the responsibility. They asked me to take a chance and may be I would enjoy it. But I wasn't really enjoying Test cricket but I tried. I wasn't good enough. A captain should lead by example which I did not. And if I played the way I played in this match it is better to leave."

If Afridi's side injury rules him out of the second Test at Headingley his final shot in the five-day game will be the slog-sweep that picked out Mike Hussey and Afridi was honest enough to admit he just couldn't hold back. "You are right," he said. "I am coming back to Test cricket after four years and in the interim I'd played a lot of ODI and Twenty20 cricket so I came in with the same [attacking] temperament. I was in two minds. You can say I was not strong mentally."

Yawar Saeed, Pakistan's manager, confirmed Afridi's decision to Cricinfo, though he insisted he wouldn't call it a retirement. "Afridi had a side strain and felt that he shouldn't keep a specialist out of the side. Temperamentally he feels not comfortable with the format so Leeds will be his last Test," he said.

Saeed said that Butt is likely to take over, but that any decision would have to be made in consultation with the board. Ijaz Butt, chairman PCB, is in England currently. "Salman Butt was appointed vice-captain for the tour and he will take over unless the PCB meets and decides otherwise. But as per procedure, he will take over," Saeed said.

"Salman is the vice captain and he should ideally be the man," Afridi added. "The way he has shown the maturity he is good enough to carry forward the responsibility."

The development will bring into sharp focus the PCB's decision to appoint Afridi as Test captain in the first place. He had already retired from the format once before, in 2006, only to return, ironically, for the tour to England that summer. He played a couple of Tests before pulling himself out of the format again.

Since his appointment recently, his hesitancy towards the format has surfaced repeatedly. In an interview to The Wisden Cricketer before the series began, Afridi hinted he might not play Tests for long. "I'm confident I am fine fitness-wise," he said then. "But I came back to Tests because I am doing it for the team only. If I think I am fit to do it, I will continue playing Tests. Otherwise I will not burden the side."

In a more recent interview to Cricinfo, Afridi said, "If down the line I become aware that I am not a good captain, or not a successful one, and the team is unable to make any use of me as a captain, I will not chase it. If I don't have the ability then I will leave it on my own ... I did not ask anyone forcibly to give me the captaincy, nor will I forcibly captain the team. If I am good I will prove it through my performance. If I am not good I will say khuda hafeez [God be with you]."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jishal on July 19, 2010, 14:27 GMT

    Afridi has no sportman spirit. He saved himself by doing resignation. Shame on him. Still PAK will come back. Recall Yusuf and Yunis. Only they can strengthen middle order and keep Salman as Captain and send Pak Cricket Board to play any third rate drama. Good Luck.

  • Haroon on July 19, 2010, 9:55 GMT

    Now every1 is happy, it's a right decision, & after 2day's miserable show I should say the same, but should I? Few years back, GREAT Shane Warne said; this type of talent can score 8000 runs, can take 300 wickets & can grab 150 catches in test cricket, BUT IF HE PLAY FOR AUSTRALIA! Problem isn't in the Player; problem is in the System of Pakistan Cricket which destroyed the talent of this guy. He is the combination of 2 greats. Like Kumble Tall high arm action, nippy, quicker through air & like Shane Warne drifting the ball in to the right handers. His own off spinner & faster balls can be combined to make him the most lethal bowler of test cricket, but we as nation loose every bit of it. He can be the Garfied Sobbers of Pakistan Cricket. Nobody realized how talented, committed, devoted & hard working Cricketer this guy is. I will always praise this guy as one of the greatest & most under-achieved cricketer of all times. I will always miss him in test Cricket. We LOVE U BOOM BOOM!!

  • naveed on July 19, 2010, 8:14 GMT

    @ mr. shoab alam, india have done this many times??? for ur kind of information, non have ever chased 440 in test history.... if pakistan would have chase that.... this would be a history...

  • Eddy on July 19, 2010, 5:45 GMT

    Afridi's decision was made for him by the highest authority in Pakistan.

    He was told to step down or be removed completely. This 'injury' he suddenly picked up and his lack of temperament excuse are just sideshows.

    Afridi doesn't play for Pakistan, he plays for himself. If he doesn't care enough to try his best for the country in a test, why should he care in a 50 overs match or 20/20?

  • A on July 18, 2010, 15:00 GMT

    THIS IS FOR MY INDIAN FRIENDS FEELING GREAT ABT PAK CRIC AFFAIRS THESE DAYS. Lets just talk facts-1) check Pak V/S Ind overall record in any format. Once Ind catches up please restart your chest thumping. 2) Ditto for Pak and Ind record against any top playing country 3) Ind is doing well coz Aus, Pak, WI are down these days. Now let me tell you the way it is-YES, WE AS A NATION ARE GOING THRU SOME TOUGH TIMES - IT IS REFLECTING ON OUR CRIC PERFORMANCE. We do not have any real cricket at local level, no test, no intrntnl, PCB admin sucks etc. there is no money in our cric compared to your IPL, TV rights, etc. Our cricketers are not rich compared to Dhoni et al. YES WE ARE DOWN FOR NOW AND WE KNOW THAT. Just like you guys sucked during 50s-2005 against us. INSPITE of this our future looks promising. ABT AFRIDI- After what he did to you guys in Kanpur, no wonder u r peeved at him..AND NOW A FACT:he is rated #2 ODI Allrounder &#9 bwler in the world. It is all cyclical my friends. Peace.

  • Pritish on July 18, 2010, 13:39 GMT

    Afridi will give up retirement within a month....Pakistan cricket cannot avoid that little bit of drama. I'm pretty sure he'll be back. He made a brainless decision here, didn't even try opening.

  • Dummy4 on July 18, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    im agreed with arun....100 % correct analysis of Pakistan loss....i believe if Indians were given same target in same conditions of Lords, they could have easily achieved the target and beat Aussies... as they have done this many a times....Good luck to Salman Butt

  • arun on July 18, 2010, 6:15 GMT

    @ahmadfuad . donteven compare indian batsman with afridi. i accept he is brave enough to accept that he is not good at test. but indian batting line up is best in the world. dont forget that. but every time indian team is led down by worst bowling. dont even say that pakistan cricketers are with fighting spirit. 1st test was in their hands . but due to their lack of patience and not willing to fight they lost the match. pakistan have good quality players but they need have to improve themself that how to stay long in the crease and how to play a test match from indian test batsmen.

  • Manju on July 18, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    @Shafqat Nadeem, lol, one of the funniest comments I have read in recent times. Quote" one of the best "stupid" decisions (of the many) he made". This is seriously funny. I really wanted to wait for couple of days before commenting because you never know with PCB or its players, anything and everything will be revoked. I've lost counts of how many pak players retired only to be back again. The comedy continues. I'm not surprised if I wake up tomorrow to hear butt resigning from captaincy. That is the state in which pak cricket is in at the moment. Jokers.

  • tash on July 18, 2010, 0:01 GMT

    pakistan team is going through tough times. seniors like imran khan, wasim akram should come forward and guide the team to the right path. at the same time pakistan fans and supporters should stand by the team in their tought times rather than critising. we have lot of talend. we will aome back very strong. patience is needed.

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