Under fire Afridi quits as Pakistan T20 captain

All rounder wants to continue playing for country as a player

Shahid Afridi has given up Pakistan's 20-overs captaincy after the team's poor World Twenty20 campaign in India but wants to play on for his country, the 36-year-old said on Sunday.

In a statement posted to his official Twitter account, Afridi said: "Today I wish to inform my fans in Pakistan and all over the world that I am relinquishing the captaincy of the T20 Pakistani team of my own volition."

He, however, intends to continue playing cricket for Pakistan.

"For me, it was a great honour to lead my country in all three formats of the game," he said, requesting his fans to continue supporting him during "future performances for Pakistan as a player and in all other arenas of the game the world over".

Afridi, who played the last of his 27 tests in 2010, announced last year that he planned to bow out of international cricket after the World Twenty20 in India.

"Today I wish to inform my fans in Pakistan and all over the world that I am relinquishing the captaincy of the T20 Pakistani team of my own volition," the cricketer said in a statement.

"I intend to continue to play the game for my country and league cricket."

Under Afridi, Pakistan lost three of their four group matches, including one against arch-rivals India, and failed to reach the last four of the World Twenty20.

After defeat to Australia in their final match of the tournament nine days ago, Afridi told reporters: "I'm going to go back home and in the next four to five days I will take a decision and whatever is better for the country, I will go with that."  

After the Pakistani cricket team’s disappointing dismissal from the World T20 in India, Afridi took to Facebook last week to ask forgiveness from cricketing fans all over the country for what he termed his failure to meet the nation’s expectations.

Afridi apologises for World T20 flop

Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam in his tour report termed Afridi a "clueless" captain in the wake of the team’s early exit from the series.

Alam laid heavy criticism on the T20 skipper Afridi for his poor on-field tactics and off-field behaviour that brought undue controversies on the team.

Pakistan head-coach Waqar Younis also criticised Afridi in his recently leaked report after the disastrous exit from the World T20.

The former fast-bowler blamed "poor captaincy" for losses in the recent series against New Zealand and dismal performances in the Asia Cup and the World T20.

"Over several occasions, I had made it clear that Shahid Afridi was not performing with the bat, ball or as a captain but I was not listened to," Waqar mentioned in the report.

Pakistan was knocked out of the World T20 after losing three of its four group matches, including a loss to rival India.

Afridi has been a fan favourite since he burst onto the scene in 1996, striking a 37-ball century against Sri Lanka in only his second match to set a world record that was unbeaten for 17 years.

He became known as a bowling all-rounder in the second half of his career and was instrumental in Pakistan's early successes in Twenty20, including their 2009 victory.

The national side's next assignment is an away tour to England which kicks off in July this year and will consist of four Tests, five ODIs and a one-off Twenty20 match.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chariman Shaharyar Khan praised Afridi's decision to quit Pakistan captaincy while talking to reporters outside Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday.

"I respect Afridi's decision," said Khan.

"He demonstrated maturity and sense of responsibility by apologising to the nation after the World T20," he added.

The former diplomat also hinted that Sarfaraz Ahmed can be elected as Pakistan's next T20 captain.

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