Shahid Afridi: Pakistan not producing players to match standards of international cricket
Shahid Afridi has never been one to shy away from speaking his mind, this being the latest in a series of comments by the Pakistani cricketer. He has most recently claimed that Pakistan are not producing players that are capable of meeting international standards and competing at the very top level. The 36-year-old cricketer firmly believes that he has what it takes to compete at the top level.
Pakistan have not had the best of times recently. They did not cross the group stage in this year’s World T20, failed to make it to the final in the Asia Cup and were dumped out at the quarter-final stage during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Speaking to BBC Urdu, the dashing all-rounder said, “We always say that Pakistan has very talented cricketers. But it is not producing the sort of talent needed for international cricket. Sorry. No talent.” Harsh words indeed from Afridi, who was the captain during the Asia Cup and World T20 earlier this year.
Afridi, who has made a U-turn on his decision to retire on a number of occasions firmly believes that he deserves his space in the squad. He was in a buoyant mood, declaring himself fit to represent Pakistan in the limited overs formats of the game/ “I have never been a burden on the team. When I was part of the team I played respectfully, and when I resign I will do that respectfully too. Let’s first teach the boys to play. I wish to continue playing T20, ODI cricket, whether it is at a national or domestic level or leagues … I think I am fit for the game.” he said.
This is not the first time that Afridi has said something like this. He very recently said that Pakistan selectors should focus on producing quality players, and not worry about quantity. He also spoke about his compatriots Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad, saying they can never be compared to the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
Afridi has also recently been mulling entering politics and met with cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan. When asked why he met the legend he said, “I wish to enter politics but some well wishers and elders advise me against it.”