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Shahid Afridi to continue playing international cricket after ICC World T20?

Shahid Afridi is re-considering retirement plan after the ICC World T20.

Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi made his international debut almost 20 years ago

ESPNCricinfo are reporting that Pakistan T20I captain Shahid Afridi is re-considering his intentions to retire after the ICC World T20 which will take in India next month. Afridi is said to be under pressure from his family and friends to continue playing cricket.

The 35-year-old had hinted after last year’s 50-over World Cup that he would retire after captaining his country at the 2016 World T20. He had retired from ODIs after Pakistan lost to Australia in the quarter-finals at the World Cup itself.

Speaking to the ESPN-owned cricket website, Afridi said: “There is a lot of pressure on me that I shouldn't retire from T20. That I can play on, and as such there is no real talent coming through in Pakistan whose place I am taking.”

“For a while now there is a lot of pressure from my family, a lot of pressure from my friends, including my elders, who say there is no need for me to retire from Twenty20. That is a huge pressure. For now, in truth, I am focusing only on the World Cup. That is a huge challenge for me.”

Having made his international debut in October 1996, Afridi can complete 20 overs of international cricket if he continues playing for Pakistan after the World T20.

The all-rounder said that his retirement plans depend on his own performances in the World Cup. A lot will be expected from him, especially in the bowling department as he is highest wicket-taker in the history of T20I cricket.

“First I want to see where Pakistan stand in the World Cup. Whether I am capable of taking the team forward on the back of my performances. I want to check where I am standing myself,” he added.

Even as he is set to turn 36 next week, Afridi has no doubts that he is still fit enough to meet the demands of international cricket.

“As far as playing goes my fitness is awesome. Energy is also there. I can play cricket. But I would be able to tell things clearly after the World Twenty20," he said.

Afridi recently captained Peshawar Zalmi in the inaugural edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). His team lost out to eventual winners Islamabad United in the playoffs after having topped the table after the end of the league stage.

Pakistan begin their World T20 campaign with a match against a qualifier on March 16 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

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