KARACHI: Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has defended his decision to quit Test cricket, saying he does not have the temperament to play the traditional format of the game. Afridi though feels that he should not have ended his Test career without completing the series against Australia in England last year. “My decision was absolutely the right one. I don’t think I am a Test-temperament player, hence it’s best that instead of me, players more suited to Test cricket are selected,” Afridi was quoted as saying Wednesday. Afridi had quit the five-day format after Pakistan lost to Australia at Lord’s last year.
Afridi said he did not become the Pakistan Test captain by choice and he was pressurised to take up the job in the interest of the team. “I didn’t want to accept, but I was under pressure to accept it. I was advised that the unit that I had built in ODIs should be continued in Tests too. I didn’t want to back out or let the team down. The team was going through a difficult phase and we were trying to re-build the team hence I accepted,” he said.
“However, I had made it clear that if I didn’t enjoy it, I would leave. I should not have quit after that first Test, but I realised that Test cricket is not for me,” he told Pakpassion.net. Afridi said the ODI side needed to learn to utilise the batting powerplay well. “Quite a few teams have faced problems with regards to the batting powerplay. For us, when we take the batting powerplay, we start losing wickets, so then we thought it’s probably best to delay the powerplay and take it right at the end to avoid losing wickets earlier. I do realise we have this problem. The coach and I have discussed this in detail and hopefully we will see some better results on this in the upcoming series in the West Indies.” Afridi said he was happy to play the role of a floater batsman and was focusing more on his bowling which had paid rich dividends in the ICC World Cup in which he took 21 wickets. “For the past three or four years, I am a bowling all-rounder. I have focused a lot on my bowling in this period and it has worked well. I should use my batting according to the situation. There should be no set position for me,” he said.
The all-rounder also remained unfazed by criticism about his batting performances. “Definitely, there is criticism and I always take the criticism positively. The West Indies tour and the Zimbabwe tour are good series for me to regain my batting form. I acknowledge that recently I may not have worked as hard on my batting as I should have, but I have addressed that.” Afridi said he enjoyed playing under Wasim Akram and also regarded Moin Khan and Inzamamul Haq as good captains.
“I enjoyed my cricket a lot under the captaincy of Wasim bhai. And my performance was good too. Moin bhai was also a tough cricketer and a fighting captain. Inzi bhai was good too. So these would be my top-three, the three captains under whom I enjoyed my cricket a lot,” he stated. When it came to naming the coach who inspired him the most, Afridi could not look past the late Bob Woolmer. Describing Woolmer as the ‘best coach’ he had played under, Shahid Afridi in particular was full of praise of the Englishman’s ability to motivate the players.
“Woolmer has to be the best coach. His coaching style was great, so when a player wasn’t performing, Woolmer would sit with the player, chat with him informally, all this to ensure one’s spirits didn’t fall and the player wouldn’t get demoralised. That was a great quality in him, as players do need that,” he said.