LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board is seriously considering a request from former T20 captain Shahid Afridi to give him a graceful farewell by allowing him a chance to feature in one of the three T20 Internationals scheduled against the West Indies later this month in the UAE.
Though the PCB is pondering over the proposal forwarded by the explosive all-rounder, it is concerned about the possible outcome in case it decides to arrange a farewell game for the veteran player.
Earlier, Afridi, in an unusual move, deviated from his commitment he made to PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan about a year before the 2016 World T20 that he would retire from T20 Internationals after the mega event.
Under Afridi’s captaincy, Pakistan failed to produce any worthwhile show in this year’s Asia Cup T20 and the World T20, staged in Bangladesh and India, respectively.
The poor results in the aforementioned events led to severe criticism of the PCB and the team from all quarters concerned.
Despite facing the strong backlash however, Afridi, whose individual performance both with bat and ball has been continuously waning in recent years, made a highly disturbing statement post-World T20 that he wanted to continue playing for Pakistan.
However, the new national selection committee headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq overlooking Afridi’s statement decided not to pick him for the one-off T20 against England held in Manchester last week.
The all-rounder was then also axed for the three-match T20 rubber against the West Indies starting on Sept 23.
Sources said now after Pakistan’s fantastic nine-wicket win in the Manchester T20 under new skipper and wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed — who fared impressively with the bat during the Test and ODI series in England earlier this summer — dashed all Afridi hopes of returning to the national team. Subsequently, the experienced all-rounder sent a message to the PCB through some friends, which the cricket board is now considering carefully.
According to sources, the PCB, taking into account Afridi’s weak record of fulfilling his retirement commitment he made to Shaharyar last year, was concerned as to who would be responsible if Afridi again didn’t fulfil his word — particularly in case he somehow managed to play a significant T20 knock against the West Indies in the UAE.
In this case, it’s being felt, some of Afridi’s well-wishers in media and cricketing fraternity will again start calling for him to continue representing Pakistan.
“To go safer this time, the PCB will ask Afridi to first announce his retirement from international cricket after playing a match against the West Indies, which may be the last one to be held on Sept 27; [after which] he will be selected in the team as the 16th man,” sources said.