Afridi finds few sympathisers after shock retirement
Karachi: Shahid Afridi`s shock retirement out of anger at being sacked as Pakistan`s ODI captain has found no sympathy in the country`s cricket community with former players calling the flamboyant all-rounder immature.
"I don`t understand why he needed to do this. Today he is blaming this board but he has forgotten it was this board that supported and backed him even during his ball-tampering incident in Australia and even when he didn`t perform," former captain Zaheer Abbas said.
"Even when the team reached the World Cup semi-finals, the board not only rewarded him but gave him lot of respect," he added.
Zaheer said if Afridi had any issues with the team management, he should have waited until board Chairman Ejaz Butt had met all stakeholders in the team to sort out things.
"The sort of language he has used while announcing his retirement is unacceptable at any level. There is no excuse for him to behave this way," Zaheer said.
Former Test leg-spinner and ex-chief selector Abdul Qadir also slammed Afridi for making a mockery of the retirement word.
"Nowadays, it has become a joke to announce your retirement. Our players are doing it regularly and backing out and only causing embarrassment for Pakistan cricket," he said.
Qadir said even if Afridi had any issues with the team management or board, he should have talked to the Chairman first before taking a decision.
"I don`t think there were any circumstances to behave in this matter. He is part of the management and it is his responsibility to ensure internal issues are sorted out internally," he added.
Former Test spinner Iqbal Qasim, who had also been a chief selector, said Afridi`s decision would only cause damage to cricket.
"In the end it is cricket that suffers, which is sad. I don`t know what happened in the team or between Afridi and the board but I don`t think he needed to adapt such drastic measures," he said.
Qasim said he didn`t support the sort of harsh language used by Afridi against the board.
"He needed to be more careful with what he says in the media. After all there is a code of conduct for every player particularly the captain. I don`t think his decision is justified. I just hope he and the board now sit down and sort things out quickly or this issue will only cause more harm to Pakistan cricket," Qasim said.
Former Test captain Rashid Latif said he was disappointed at what had happened.
"It happened so suddenly. I don`t know what is right or wrong but I know this much that the government or board needs to set up an independent commission to find out what or who are those elements in Pakistan cricket who are forcing senior players to take such decisions and why," Latif said.
Afridi, in his retirement announcement, hinted that there was a particularly lobby of Punjab working against him which didn`t want him to continue as captain.
"The commission should find out what is happening in the team that senior players in the past like Younis Khan, Muhammad Yousuf and now Afridi have decided to take the course of leaving the captaincy or retiring," Latif said.
Former wicketkeeper captain Moin Khan blamed the board for the current crisis in the team.
"It is the board which is to blame as the way they treated Afridi was unfair. There was no reason for removing him as captain when he was leading the team so well. He had scored successes," Moin said.
"There are people in the management who want all the authority while Ijaz Butt wants to hold all the cards and run a one-man show. This is not the way to run cricket because at the end of the day the captain needs to be given all authority to take decision. A captain must be given respect," he said.
"I think Afridi had no choice but to retire after the unceremonious way he was removed as captain. If there was a disciplinary issue the board should have made it clear," he added.
Two former Chairmen of the board Lt General Tauqir Zia and Shaharyar Khan, however, didn`t support the move by Afridi.
"You can`t have such a situation where players want to dictate terms. If he was removed as captain he was selected as a player and if he had any problems he should have discussed it with the board.
"Players can`t be allowed to violate discipline and the code. I don`t think there was any justification for Afridi`s decision to retire and criticize the board in such a harsh manner," Zia said.
"I just hope it is sorted out soon. But the fact is that Afridi has always been a bit of a loose cannon in the media. But he was doing well as captain so the board should have given him more chances as captain," added Khan.