Pakistani greats expressed dismay at Shahid Afridi’s decision to quit international cricket.
Former captain Rashid Latif urged the government to resolve the problem of the national team losing top players after Afridi, who was stripped of the one-day captaincy after a spat with authorities, retired late on Monday.
“His decision to retire, after people like Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf left, should be treated as a serious issue and I demand the Pakistan government to form a committee and resolve this,” said Latif.
Ex-skipper Wasim Akram, under whom Afridi developed in the 1990s, called the development “sad” and said Pakistan had become a standing joke in cricket circles.
“It is sad and will hurt Pakistan cricket badly,” Wasim said. “Just last month Afridi was showered with praise after he took Pakistan to the World Cup 2011 semi-final, given cash awards and suddenly this happened.
“Wherever I go people ask me what’s happening in Pakistan cricket. They laugh at us and I am left embarrassed,” he added. “I think even the best doctors do not have a treatment for Pakistan cricket.”
Afridi, 31, stood down from international duty after a row with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) over critical comments about coach Waqar Younis after this year’s World Cup, when the team reached the semi-finals.
“I am dejected and hurt and whatever I said about the coach it was in the best interest of the team,” he said.
“I will not play under this set-up of the PCB which has treated players roughly,” he added.
Younis relinquished the captaincy after the 2009 Champions Trophy while Yousuf announced his retirement last year, a decision which he rescinded later. Both had tangled with the PCB.
Wasim added: “As Pakistan captain Afridi should not have made his differences with coach public and should have solved them without coming to the media, and the PCB has also not tackled this fairly.”
But another former captain, Moin Khan, laid the blame squarely at the PCB’s door.
“This is a mistake of PCB administration,” said Khan. “Afridi never took any names while he criticised the policies and the Board took note of that, why is no one in the government taking notice of the PCB’s actions of last three years.”
Fans on the street backed Afridi.
“Afridi has taken a good decision,” said Ali Nayyer, a student at Karachi University. “PCB has mis-treated him and they should be removed so that Afridi returns.”