Pakistan news June 16, 2011

Afridi's international future still uncertain


Shahid Afridi and the PCB may have reached a kind of compromise which sees both sides get what they want, but the issue of Afridi's international future remains shrouded in doubt still. After being removed as ODI captain, Afridi 'retired' from the international game, though he made it clear that it was a decision made in protest and a 'conditional' one; several times he said he would not play again under the current administration, but would reconsider if and when there was a change.

Under the compromise reached between Afridi and PCB chairman Ijaz Butt earlier this week, the former withdrew his petition against the board in the Sindh High Court and will face a board disciplinary committee hearing later on Thursday in Lahore. In return, he is expected to be granted the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) that allows him to play for Hampshire in the ongoing Friends Life t20 and later for one of the franchises in the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL).

Increasingly as the dispute has escalated, Afridi has focused purely on being allowed to play for Hampshire and made little mention of his Pakistan future. Butt told ESPNcricinfo that Afridi's retirement "was not mentioned at all" during their meeting. "As far as the board is concerned he is still retired," Butt said.

A report in the leading Urdu daily Jang on Thursday suggests further that Afridi has not thought about his international future. At a function to mark the re-launch of the Jang group's sports channel Geo Super two nights ago - the channel has been off-air for nearly two months - the report quoted Afridi telling the audience that "the NOC was my right and nobody could stop him from getting it." When asked about his international future, Afridi gave no reply.

Further, the newspaper cited sources close to Afridi as saying at the same event that he has no immediate plans for a return and is only concentrating on the T20 events in England and Sri Lanka.

What has confused the issue, however, is a statement allegedly released by Afridi late on Wednesday night, in which he seems to suggest he still has an international future. "I have always served Pakistan and played cricket for my country and its people and the overwhelming love, honour and respect I have received in return is my biggest asset," part of the statement reads. "I have all the zeal and energy to play cricket for the nation for many years to come. I will be appearing before the disciplinary committee tomorrow, inshallah."

The statement has come from a close advisor of Afridi, but other sources insist that it does not convey the authentic sentiments of Afridi and that he has not owned up to it.

Afridi's desire for international cricket has come under scrutiny several times in the past. In 2006 he retired briefly from Test cricket - after his most successful phase in the format incidentally - to concentrate on the limited overs game. He took back that decision, however, soon after and even returned to play one Test - as captain no less - last summer in England. Immediately after leading Pakistan to a loss at Lord's against Australia, he resigned as captain and retired from the format again.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • khurram on June 16, 2011, 18:29 GMT

    guys who are saying that in past he did perform well. yes he did no doubt about it but whats that old performance has to do with this?or future? so if a person made 100 last year or got wickets perviously mean he should play next 10 years? thing is Afridi himself is only after NOC & its restored now. he hasnt said anything about national comitments. he is going to uk . so point is not old performance. point is this conflict with PCB where he was saying that he did this for pak cricket future. where is that gone now. dont make fool of urself.

  • Dummy4 on June 16, 2011, 16:40 GMT

    guys who say afridi hasnt performed..pls watch some cricket before making comments...afridi was the one who them the t20 world cup..then in 2010 he was pakistans leading wicket taker and run getter...he scored more runs than even dhoni..refer the stats...under his captaincy pak won their 1st bilateral series in the last 2 years against NZ and he did perform..and world cup he was the best bowler and if it was for some better fielding he wud have one them the guys first know wat u are talking bout before making a fool of urself

  • khurram on June 16, 2011, 14:41 GMT

    @Mayur: mate no body is saying against his good performances. But how long will that 2009 t20 cup 50s count? he not only performed well in that t20 but also many times in past . thing is current performance. & even he doent want to play . he repeatedly said in recent days abot NOC & county

  • khurram on June 16, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    @getsetgopk: mate on 1 performance how long wil u keep any 1? better understand things before comenting. 1 performance in past & next 10 years or 100? even he doent want to play for national team. he even said today that i am not thinking about international. my coments was on topic about his international career. he hasnt talked about international cricket all these days. he was just again & again saying NOC NOC. just money & personal issues.

  • Dummy4 on June 16, 2011, 13:25 GMT

    The way Pakistani cricketers retire and then come back and then is at a much faster pace than one would change socks....gawd make up your mind people

  • Dummy4 on June 16, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    When it comes to retirement, Sachin's record is really poor. 21 years of international cricket & not even a single retirement!!!!!!!!!! Pak are well & truly on top of this list of number of retirements. !!!!!!!!!!

  • Amjad on June 16, 2011, 10:13 GMT

    @khurramsch Afridi's performance is a question mark?? is that the best you could comment about pak cricket and for its improvemnt? what about those other 10 members of the team performance? subtract 21 wickets from pak's wc performance and you would have even lost to canada in group stage let alone make it to the knockout stages. and in semi final if nobody could catch the damn ball was afridi's fault? as far as wi tour they won the opening 3 odi's before waqar and co starting undue intervention in the team. you should know better before commenting on afridi's performance.

  • Dummy4 on June 16, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    @Aamir Afridi: Yes; you are right. Pakistan reached 2 Finals and 1 Semi-Final of T-20 WC in which Pakistan's performance has gone down in recent times. I would like to ask you only question: Who was the super-performer who contributed to Pakistan's major success in all these tournaments? Afridi or someone else??

  • Dummy4 on June 16, 2011, 9:31 GMT

    well khurram i agree with u..his performance other than the world cup has been dismal..with the bat even a number 11 is better than him now..from the time he has taken over the t20 captaincy we have lost matches after matches...and t20 wz our speciality...we reached two finals and 1 semi final......

  • Dummy4 on June 16, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    All though as a player Afridi has contrubted his part we must hunt or proper and long term. I shall not comment the reltion with Ejaz Butt.

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