Dhaka: Pakistan’s U19 cricket team at the ongoing ICC World Cup got a major boost on Thursday when it got some much needed fresh experienced blood in the team in the form of evergreen youngster, Shahid Afridi.
After being labeled as a pathetic T20 captain by some media publications recently, Afridi expressed his disappointment on Twitter and announced another one of his retirements from senior cricket with immediate effect. After making the announcement, Afridi made the Pakistan cricket board aware of his availability for the Under 19 World Cup and was immediately selected.
This is not the first time that Afridi has retired from international cricket but this is the first time that he has stepped back to his appropriate age group cricket. While most experts believe it is another one of his usual retirements and he will be back for World T20, a few believe that International cricket may have lost Afridi for good to the Under 19 game.
Veteran Pakistani commentator Rameez Saza commenting on the issue said, “Well he is only 16 and has a few good years in the Under 19 game ahead of him. Why should he rush back to the international game? He can easily play the next Under 19 World Cup as well. You never know with Afridi, he is so unpredictable that he can play 10 more Under 19 World Cups.”
“The team lacks experience and Afridi’s 19-year experience in international cricket should come in handy”, said the junior cricket team’s manager Ali Zia. “Not only have we found a good experienced cricketer but we have also found someone suitable to be the team captain as he is very fluent in English”, Mr Zia smiled.
The move is surprising because World T20 is due in India in March and Afridi was supposed to be a big part of the Pakistan challenge there. When our reporter asked Afridi whether he doesn’t want another chance to play India in India, he smiled ruefully and said, “What is the point. They will not let us win. Their hearts are still small.”