KARACHI: Shahid Afridi’s sudden announcement that he is contemplating one-day retirement to focus on Twenty20s has caught Pakistan's cricket fraternity by surprise and raised questions about what is happening behind the scenes in the national camp. Afridi took everyone by surprise when, on returning home from Sri Lanka after playing in the one-day series, he said he was thinking about retiring from the ODIs and just playing the T20 matches.
"I will be consulting my elders and seniors and will take a decision in the next few days. But definitely if I feel I am not contributing to the team in the ODIs, I don't want to carry on doing nothing,” Afridi told reporters at the airport. "I also personally feel it is time for the selectors to try out more youngsters to prepare for the World Cup," Afridi said. The flamboyant all-rounder, who has already quit Test cricket, said he was disappointed with his performance in Sri Lanka. “I thought that Sri Lanka played much better than us and we were not good enough. It is time for us to take more responsibility," he said. Afridi, however, declined to comment when asked about how Misbahul Haq had led the side. “This is not my domain. It is the job of the board and team management as far as captaincy is concerned, so I don't want to comment on it," he said.
Cricket experts are viewing Afridi's remarks in different ways, with the general feeling being that the 31-year-old – who was removed as captain of the one-day side last year after a dispute with the board – is not comfortable and happy in the present team set-up. “There is also a chance that Afridi might have sensed that the new coach Dav Whatmore is laying more stress on young players and wants to ease out the seniors slowly," one analyst said. But he pointed out that it is no secret that Afridi was disappointed when removed as captain after leading the side well. “He was disappointed that he was not considered for the Twenty20 captaincy before Sri Lanka and instead Mohammad Hafeez got appointed."