Pakistan's talismanic all-rounder Shahid Afridi has caused a storm by hinting that he wants to continue playing for the country after the upcoming World Twenty20.
Afridi has said he is facing "huge pressure" from family and friends to not retire from international cricket in April at the end of the World T20 in India.
"For a while now there is a lot of pressure from my family, a lot of pressure from my friends, including my elders, who say there is no need for me to retire from Twenty20. That is a huge pressure. For now, in truth, I am focusing only on the World Cup. That is a huge challenge for me. Pakistan's T20 skipper told ESPNcricinfo in Dubai.
Afridi, who will turn 36 on March 1, plays only T20 internationals for Pakistan and had announced his intention to retire from international cricket after the 2015 World Cup.
'Boom Boom' Afridi feels he is still fit and was one of the biggest crowd pullers in the inaugural Pakistan Super League where he led Peshawar Zalmi.
He is also much travelled cricketer with Hampshire having retained him for the T20 Blast.
However, some former Pakistan players are of the opinion that Afridi is past him prime and should not change his retirement plans.
Former Test pace bowler Sarfraz Nawaz has expressed his surprise that Afridi wants to continue to play Twenty20 Internationals for Pakistan.
“Afridi has passed his prime and hardly performed up to the mark in the Pakistan Super League,” Sarfraz said in an interview with APP on Wednesday. “He took just ten wickets in the PSL and scored 87 runs which shows his decline.”
Afridi, Sarfraz insisted, should stick to his decision of leaving the international arena after the World T20.
Sarfraz also disagreed to Afridi’s view that there was no real talent coming up in Pakistan.
“Pakistan has got a lot of (cricketing) talent and there is a need to give them exposure in international cricket,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, respected commentator Ramiz Raja said Afridi should not be confused about his decision to retire after the World T20.
“Quitting international cricket is not an easy decision for any player and Afridi should show sportsman spirit in making an appropriate call (on his T20 International career),” Ramiz said.