Pakistan news June 20, 2012

Afridi mulls ODI retirement after poor Sri Lanka show

Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan allrounder, has said that he may consider retiring from ODI cricket to give selectors a chance to build a strong, young team for the 2015 World Cup being held in Australia and New Zealand. Afridi struggled, with both bat and ball, in the ODI series against Sri Lanka, scoring just 28 runs from four innings and picking up three wickets.

He said that he would reassess his future after the team returned home from Sri Lanka in mid-July. "People expect a lot from senior players, so I must sincerely review my performance [in ODI cricket]," Afridi told ESPNcricinfo. "I want to step aside for new players [to come through], so that Pakistan can build a good team for the 2015 World Cup. But I must, first, check if anyone is ready to take my place in the team, so that my retirement won't be unfair to the team."

Afridi, who was dismissed for scores of 2, 17, 0 and 9 in the ODIs against Sri Lanka, said that even if he retired from ODI's, he would still continue playing the Twenty20 format. "[I had decided that] the day I became a burden to cricket I would walk away [from the game]. I am considering [whether or not to retire from ODIs] and would consult some senior players and friends before making a decision. But even if I retire from ODI's I will continue to play Twenty20 cricket."

Pakistan were shoddy in the field, in the ODI's, with several dropped catches and missed run-out opportunities, allowing Sri Lanka to gain the upper hand. Afridi attributed the 3-1 series loss to poor fielding. "Fielding has been our weakness ever since I started playing cricket," he said. "We didn't play as we expected, but Sri Lanka were strong in their own conditions. They used the conditions very well."

In the past Afridi had announced his retirement on a number of occasions. First, in 2006, he decided to take a temporary sabbatical from Test cricket to concentrate on ODIs. Then in 2010, he announced his Test retirement after Pakistan lost the first Test against Australia at Lord's. A year later he announced a "conditional" retirement from international cricket to protest against the way he was "humiliated" by the PCB, who had stripped him of his ODI captaincy.

Edited by Carlyle Laurie

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent