Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has admitted that he will not be able to carry on playing cricket much longer because his body cannot take the workload anymore.
Last month, Afridi hinted that the upcoming Pakistan Super League (PSL) could be his last. He expressed his desire to end his career at Quetta Gladiators, provided he is relieved by Multan Sultans, his current PSL franchise.
Afridi took part in the first half of PSL 2021 but missed the UAE leg with a back injury.
In an interaction with Cricket Pakistan, the 44-year-old stated that he was ready for his second innings and a life beyond the cricket field. Afridi said:
“I am busy with my foundation work. Also, I have been observing my body. It is not supporting me anymore. I have carried on playing for so long because of the love and wishes of the fans."
"It was their messages of support on Twitter, Facebook and Insta that kept me going. But I feel that my innings as a cricketer is almost over now. The second innings is a big one. So hopefully that wouldn’t end soon. This country has given me a lot and it is now my turn to give back to Pakistan.”
The former cricketer has remained active in the PSL even after international retirement. In his overall T20 career, the all-rounder has scored 4395 runs in 326 games apart from claiming 344 wickets.
“I would like to work with U-14, U-16 teams as coach” - Afridi on coaching ambitions
Several former Pakistan cricketers like Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq have stepped into coaching post-retirement.
Asked if he had any similar plans, Afridi admitted that he would like to work with cricketers at the Under-14 or Under-16 level. He stated:
“It will be an honor for me to be available for Pakistan in any form… Given a chance, I would like to work with U-14, U-16 teams as coach.”
Explaining his stance, the former Pakistan captain elaborated that upcoming cricketers can learn a lot about the game at that stage of their careers. Afridi concluded:
“I feel those who have played a lot of cricket for Pakistan, if they work at the U-14, U-16 and U-19 levels, then it will be good. It is at this age that cricketers start learning the tricks of the trade. If big names like Shoaib Akhtar, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf can sit down and talk to the youngsters and share their experiences, it will be of great help. These players would have been heroes of those young and upcoming cricketers.”
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The former Pakistan cricketer represented the country in 27 Tests, 398 ODIs and 99 T20Is. After coming out of several international retirements, he announced his final retirement in 2017.