Miffed Afridi decides to retire, PCB comes under pressure

May 31st, 2011 - 5:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, May 31 (IANS) Pakistan’s cricket chiefs felt the heat Tuesday after former captain Shahid Afridi announced his retirement from international cricket and blamed them for his decision.

Led by federal Sports Minister Shaukatullah Khan, an overwhelming support from government officials, public and media has put pressure on the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) which was solely blamed for Afridi’s decision to quit.

“I can’t be a part of a set-up where I’m not given any respect,” Afridi told The News, referring to what he termed the Pakistan Cricket Board’s “ill-treatment” towards him.

“As captain, I believe I did a fine job by unifying a team that was in tatters after the spot-fixing scandal,” said the seasoned all-rounder. “I led the team to the World Cup semi-finals. After that we won the one-day series against West Indies. Still I was stripped of the captaincy and nobody even bothered to give me a reason why.”

Afridi was removed as captain May 19 but was retained in Pakistan’s one-day squad for the two-match ODI series against Ireland. The move came days after Afridi hinted at disharmony within the team management. Afridi and coach Waqar Younis were not getting along.

Afridi, 31, even sought a meeting with PCB chairman Ijaz Butt but was never given a chance to give the PCB chairman his side of the story. Instead, he was slapped with a show-cause notice for talking to the media after returning from the Caribbean.

“I kept expecting that the PCB chairman will ask me about what has been bugging me but he never cared to do that,” lamented Afridi. “I cannot play cricket till the time the current PCB set-up is in power. It hasn’t given me the respect I deserved and for me respect is more important than anything else.”

Though Afridi has decided to quit, it is unlikely that millions of his fans have seen the last of him. Soon after Afridi announced his retirement, federal Sports Minister Shaukutullah Khan threw his weight behind the allrounder.

“Afridi has taken a decision because he got caught in a hopeless situation,” said the minister. “I’ll talk to the prime minister to sort out this issue and make Afridi take back his decision to retire because he is our national hero,” he added.

Meanwhile, Butt said that he did not stop Afridi from playing international cricket. Butt said that Afridi was stripped of captaincy because there were solid reasons for his removal.

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