Pakistan in crisis following Afridi retirement
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi plunged his side into a fresh crisis by deciding to retire from Test cricket following Australia’s 150-run win at Lord’s on Friday.
The all-rounder pulled the plug on playing the longest form of the game following his reckless performance in his first Test in four years in London.
Afridi said he was carrying a side strain injury and, if fit, was prepared to play in his final Test in the second match at Headingley starting on Wednesday.
In a bizarre press conference, Afridi said he wasn’t mentally strong enough to play Test cricket after so long only playing the shortened forms of the game.
And in a frank response, he said he could not stop himself from trying to hit every ball for six.
“You are right, I can’t,” he said with a grin.
“That cricket is a totally different game and different demands because after four years, we have played a lot of one-day and Twenty20 cricket as well so I am going with the same temperament.”
Afridi only inherited the side in the wake of seven players being fined and suspended for their part in the infighting that plagued the team in last summer’s tour of Australia.
So keen was he to be out of his whites, he turned up to the post-match press conference in his national side’s coloured training kit whereas Australia’s players arrived in their playing gear.
Afridi could not contain his attacking instincts with the bat, falling for 31 and two to wild slogs on both occasions and finishing with 1-69 off 14 overs from his spinners.
He tipped his 25-year-old deputy Salman Butt to replace him as captain and it would be perfectly understandable if the Pakistan Cricket Board snubbed Afridi for the Leeds clash.
Afridi denied the lure of money in Twenty20 had influenced his decision to turn his back on the Test team.
“I think I have enough money,” he said with a smile.
“If I am playing for money then I would not continue as a captain in Test cricket.”
But he let his guard down in a response not long afterwards.
“One-day and Twenty20 I am enjoying myself and you can get the result in one day,” he said.
Pakistan have had 12 Test captains since their last victory over Australia in November 1995 at the SCG.
Australia have had four during that same period and one of those was Adam Gilchrist, who filled in because of injuries to Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting.
Afridi’s effort at the crease on Friday was the last straw for him.
Off the fourth ball he faced, he hit a cross bat heave from Marcus North (6-55) straight to Mike Hussey on the midwicket boundary.
Asked when he decided he was quitting again, he replied: “When I got out.”
He said he was not the man to lead Pakistan.
“A captain should be an example for the youngsters or for the team but I did not show any example and I am not capable to play Test cricket,” he said.
“If I play cricket like this, it is better to leave.”
He’s absolutely right.© AAP 2013
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