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Detailed list of all Shahid Afridi retirements

Shahid Afridi has pulled out of retirement on a number of instances
Abhinav Massey

You won't come across a more colourful character in cricket than Pakistan's Shahid Afridi. Apart from his performances with bat and ball, Afridi has also been popular for a number of other reasons in his career.

In his initial years, there was a lot of speculation surrounding his age, which seemed to remain stagnant for long periods of time. Afridi has also been pulled up very often for getting involved in on-field altercations over the years.

Other things that make the talismanic Pakistani cricketer famous are his ‘Starman’ celebration and his tendency to retire or mull retirement only to pull out of his decision soon after. Afridi has been known to pull down the curtains on his career, only to subsequently drag them back up.

Here is the Google trends graph of the interest around the term ‘Shahid Afridi retire’. As you can see, the interest has peaked periodically over the last decade or so, signifying just how uncertain Afridi is about his career.

Let's take a look at each of Afridi's retirements over the years, and his subsequent retractions:

1. Retired from Test cricket in 2006, made a U-turn within 2 weeks, finally retired in 2010

On 12 April 2006, Shahid Afridi announced his retirement from the longest format of the game. The reason he cited was that he wanted to concentrate on the ODI format and prepare for the 2007 ICC World Cup.

If the announcement wasn’t shocking enough, his about-turn two weeks later made even more headlines. After being persuaded to reconsider his decision by then PCB chairman Shahryar Khan, Afridi announced to a disbelieving world on 27 April 2006 that he would continue playing Tests.

But in an ominous turn of events that could possibly be considered karma, Afridi didn’t play a Test for a long time after 2006; his sabbatical lasted for three whole years.

In 2010, Afridi not just returned to the Pakistani Test team, but was made the captain as well. However, his second innings lasted just a solitary match and he retired from Test cricket for good after that.

Not many people were surprised at Shahid Afridi's decision to quit as he had never been too inclined towards Test cricket throughout his career.

2. Quits international cricket in May 2011, but returns in October

2011 was a tough year for Shahid Afridi

The year 2011 was a rather stormy one for Afridi, as he stormed out of international cricket in a huff. If crashing out of the World Cup at the hands of arch-rivals India was not enough, the PCB rubbed salt on Afridi's wounds by sacking him as ODI skipper.

The flamboyant Pakistani was furious with the board's decision and took it as an assault on his self-respect. He was quick to point out that he had been conspired against and wasted no time in retiring from international cricket in May.

Just five months later though, Afridi shockingly turned back on his decision and withdrew his retirement. A change at the helm of affairs in the PCB was seen as the reason for Afridi's U-turn.

3. Thoughts of retirement haunt Afridi again in 2012

Shahid Afridi was looking to quit ODI cricket in 2012 but decided against it

Afridi's love affair with retirement speculations surfaced yet again in the year 2012. After struggling to do well in a series against Sri Lanka with both bat and ball, Afridi mulled retiring from ODI cricket to allow room for youngsters in the Pakistani team for the 2015 World Cup.

Unfortunately for the youngsters though, 'Lala', as the iconic all-rounder is fondly called, decided to 'boom, boom' for a few more years after the Sri Lanka series. By the time Afridi eventually retired from the 50-over game, the 2015 World Cup was already over with Pakistan crashing out in the quarters.

4. Afridi does it all over again, this time in 2016

Afridi was sure to retire after the 2016 World T20 but then reconsidered his decision

The pentultimate instance of Shahid Afridi speculating retirement came last year, when he announced his intention of retiring after the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 loud and clear. Everyone took it quite seriously because he had lived up to his word in 2015, by retiring from ODI cricket after that year’s World Cup.

But with just a month left to go for the marquee event of the T20I format, Afridi was back to his best as he said that he would reconsider his decision post the World Twenty20. He then thought of playing in the T20 series against West Indies last year, but that didn't materialize.

For the good part of 2016, cricket watchers all across the globe were on tenterhooks as they tried to anticipate his latest retraction.

5. Goodbye to international cricket in 2017, but will this decision stick?

Afridi bids farewell to international cricket, but will he retract this decision too?

On Monday, 20 February 2017, Afridi declared that he would be quitting international cricket with immediate effect. He made the announcement after the PSL game between his team Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings, wherein he scored a blistering knock of 54 off just 28 balls.

Afridi is committed to keep playing in the PSL, but he has no plans of playing for Pakistan again. Or so he claims.

“I have said goodbye to international cricket. I am playing for my fans and will continue to play this league (PSL) for another two years but it's goodbye from international cricket. Now my foundation is important for me. I have played with seriousness and in a professional way for my country,” he said after the match.

The man is 36 years old, which is still relatively young in the modern age of increased fitness and longer careers. Will he turn back on his decision and return to donning Pakistan colours again?

Knowing Afridi, you can't bet against that.

Edited by Staff Editor

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