Shahid Afridi announces international retirement
What’s the story?
Pakistan all-rounder and former captain Shahid Afridi announced his international retirement after his 28-ball 54 for Peshawar Zalmi against Karachi Kings at Sharjah in the Pakistan Super League. The 36-year-old called time on an international career that spanned over two decades.
Announcing his intentions of quitting from international cricket, Afridi said: “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.”
Since making his international debut in 1996 against Kenya in an ODI, Afridi quickly established himself as a destructive batsman. He last played for Pakistan during the 2016 World T20 and ends his international career having played over 500 games and picking up nearly 550 wickets and over 10,000 runs.
An international career that began with an ODI against Kenya as a swashbuckling batsman who can take the game away from any team ends with his transformation into a wicket-taking bowler who assured his place in the side courtesy fo his exploits with the ball alone. Few have managed to undergo such a complete transformation throughout their career and that is a testament to the true all-rounder that was Afridi.
In all, he played 27 Tests, in which he scored 1,716 runs and picked up 48 wickets and his last game in the longest format of the game came in 2010 against Australia. In his 398 ODIs, he scored 8,064 runs at a mind-boggling strike rate of 117 while also picking up 395 wickets at an economy rate of just 4.62. His last game in the format also came against Australia in the quarter-final of the 2015 ICC World Cup.
His T20I career, which spanned nearly a decade ends with him holding the record for the most wickets in T20Is (97) and most matches (98), with his final T20I game coming during the 2017 World T20 against Australia at Mohali.
He had earlier planned to retire during the T20I series against West Indies last year, but it somehow didn’t materialize and it is a shame that a player who has given so much to Pakistan cricket didn’t get the farewell that he deserved.
As he alluded to in his announcement, Afridi will still continue playing domestic T20 cricket across the world for another two years and that will give his fans a chance to say goodbye to their hero.
After several announcements that he was going to retire, it looks as though the 36-year-old has finally hung up his boots, at least as far as international cricket is concerned. Few have managed to transform themselves from a batsman to a bowler through the course of their career and that only shows just how good an all-rounder Afridi was. And while he was getting on, there can be little doubt about his place as one of the best cricketers of his generation.