Shahid Afridi has come under severe criticism following his dismal performance in the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka with some former players calling on the veteran all-rounder to retire from international cricket with immediate effect.
Once the darling of crowds and one of the most commercially viable figures in Pakistan, Afridi has turned into a villain from hero following his disappointing show in the World Twenty20 where he managed just 30 runs with the bat and scalped four wickets.
“I think when Pakistan lost in the 2011 World Cup semi-finals, Afridi should have taken a decision on his retirement then,” former Test pacer Aaqib Javed said.
“It appears as if we keep on selecting him hoping he will perform like he did some years ago but it is not happening. Afridi and some other players need to take a decision on their retirement,” he said.
“Limited overs cricket is for young blood and fresh legs. Unfortunately we carried a lot of players in our team whose role were uncertain in the team,’ added Aaqib, who was the bowling coach of the national team until early this year before joining UAE team as head coach.
Former batsman Basit Ali also called on Afridi to quit international cricket and said he instead should focus on playing in foreign leagues.
Afridi, easily one of the most popular cricketer in Pakistan, broke his bat and helmet in anger inside the dressing room yesterday after registering a golden duck in the semi-final against Sri Lanka.
Former pacer Sarfraz Nawaz also trained his gun at Afridi and insisted that the all-rounder was way past his prime and should retire.
“He is occupying a key position in the team and it is time the selectors now start looking for his replacement,” Nawaz said.
Former leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, however, offered some insight into why Afridi had struggled of late.
“Afridi is a very senior player and very committed but he had a back problem before this tournament. He was carrying it and it affected his performance,” Mushtaq said.