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Afridi goes on the offence again

Shahid Afridi is undoubtedly an inspirational figure in Pakistan cricket and if he has hung up his boots forever at the age of 31, it is very sad.

Dubai: Shahid Afridi quit international cricket on Monday night — peeved at the functioning of his country's board. How long he may hold on to his decision is not sure. Going by his temperament, he might reverse his decision any time.

Afridi is undoubtedly an inspirational figure in Pakistan cricket and if he has hung up his boots forever at the age of 31, it is very sad. He is one who can create a stir when he goes out to bat and also when bowling.

Unfortunately, his statements in the media are as unpredictable as his batting. Twice he made controversial statements after the recent World Cup on television and went on to say that he was misquoted!

Afridi has often stated that for him, the country matters more than his personal glory. By deciding to quit when there is still a lot of cricket left in him, reveals that his personal pride matters more to him than his country.


Hasty decisions

He first announced a temporary time-off from Test cricket in April 2006 stating that he wanted to concentrate only on one-day cricket. He later reversed his decision and even captained the Pakistan Test side during the turbulent tour of England last summer.

He once again quit Test cricket after Pakistan lost the first Test against Australia at Lord's.

It's time Afridi thought about the team that he deserts each time through his hasty decisions. He is an important player in the team and walking out on a whim reveals a kind of instability in his approach to the game.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is known for its hasty decision-making, for they have changed 11 captains in three years. To declare a war against such a board and to keep away from playing is only destroying himself as a player. Afridi should be aware that the playing days of a cricketer are limited whereas a governing body will remain in power as long as it is backed by the government.

It will be nice if Afridi realises that he is not above the game as well as the governing body for cricket in his country.

The fearless Pathan will always be adored for the number of runs and wickets he took in international cricket and not for his fight with his cricket board. The day he realises this truth, he may return to cricket again.

Thirty-one is not an age to retire but it is an age when a cricketer needs to act in a more mature manner.

For the record

Full name: Sahibzada Mohammad Shahid Khan Afridi

Born: March 1, 1980 in Khyber agency, Federally Administered Tribal Areas

Age: 31

Major teams: Pakistan, Habib Bank, Leicestershire, Griqualand West, South Australia, Karachi

Bowling style: Right-arm leg-break

Batting style: Right-handed

Test debut: Australia, Karachi, 1998

Last Test: Australia, Lord's, July 2011

One-day debut: Kenya, Nairobi, October 1996

Last one-day: West Indies, Guyana, May 2011

Test record: 27 matches, 48 wickets, 35.60 bowling average, 36.51 batting

One-day record: 325 matches, 315 wickets, 34.22 bowling average, 23.49 batting

Major achievements:

Scored fastest one-day hundred, off just 37 balls, against Sri Lanka in Nairobi, Kenya in October 1996 — the record remains unbroken

Has hit third and fourth fastest fifties (both off 18 balls) in ODIs

Smashed 289 sixes — highest in one-day cricket

Finished as the joint top wicket-taker in the 2011 World Cup with 21. India's Zaheer Khan also took the same number of wickets, who played one match more than Afridi.