By Asif Suhail
According to media reports former skipper Shahid Afridi has approached Inzamam-ul-Haq, chief selector of the PCB, with a request to give him a chance to feature in one of the three T20 matches against the West Indies in the UAE later this month.
He has also ensured that he would quit from all formats of international cricket after the series. Afridi was habitual of weak chief selectors who never dared to drop him. However, this time things were unfavourable for him.
Inzamam, who is also known for his stubbornness, did not pick Afridi for the one-off T20 against England held in Manchester last week and also axed him for the three-match T20 rubber against the West Indies starting on September 23.
Now we hear that the PCB is seriously mulling Afridi’s request and also taking into account his weak record of fulfilling his retirement commitment.
A powerful lobby is baking Afridi wholeheartedly. The fans still remember notorious hug on the pitch between Afridi and Ahmed Shahzad after losing the quarterfinal to Australia, while, looking at them, Glenn Maxwell and Misbahul Haq were wondering as if they were saddened to lose the match or celebrating for pleasing their masters.
Afridi represented Pakistan in 98 T20Is, claimed 97 wickets and scored 1405 runs at an average of over 18. He captained the national team in 43 matches in the shortest format of the game, winning 19 and losing 23. Under his 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.
Further Afridi carries a sordid past of announcing and withdrawing retirements. Earlier, a year ago before the T20 WC-2016, Afridi had given his word of honour to the PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan that he would retire from T20 Internationals after the mega event. He deviated from his commitment and made a statement post-World T20 that he wanted to continue playing for Pakistan.
Afridi, whose individual performance both with bat and ball has been continuously on the decline in recent years, is known to live through infamous controversies throughout his career. Whether it was a hotel scandal in the early days of his career, biting of cherry in the middle of an international match, spoiling the pitch during a Test match at Faisalabad or quarrel with fans at the airports, Afridi always invited controversies.
A calculated campaign by multinationals, a powerful lobby within the PCB and few media persons has once again ignited a controversy. All they have made a master plan so that Afridi may get a graceful farewell from all formats of international cricket. Over the years our national character and culture have been changed to the extent that the friends of over-glorified Afridi think that it would be a graceful farewell, if he was allowed to play his last T20. Whereas it would be a disgraceful exit wrapped with multiple begging and frequent maneuvering.