Mumbai: He is Pakistan’s answer to yesteryear Indian actress Rekha. The male version of the femme fatale – who ensnared many a batsmen with his quick spin and dismissed bowlers with aggression – is none other than Shahid Afridi. When he made his debut (20 years back), he was 16. He continued being 18 for a long time till he reached 25. About to turn 36, he is back with his favourite announcement – retirement.
Afridi loves the word. He announces and later, withdraws. This habit increases rapidly before any major tournament and the ICC World Twenty20 is no different.
Earlier, he said he is retiring from Tests in 2006, only to be back within two weeks. He continued till 2010. The all-rounder wanted to concentrate in the limited-over format, prepare for the ICC World Cup 2007.
The loss to India in the World Cup semi-final in 2011 broke his self-respect. Pakistan sacked him as skipper. The infuriated Afridi called it a day. It lasted five months. He was back within five months.
Around 2012, he once again thought about retiring after a string of failures against Sri Lanka. Nonetheless, it took him three years to call it quits (in 2015) after Pakistan crashed out of the World Cup.
He also declared he would call it quits in the T20 format after the World Cup in 2016 but ‘Lala’ fondly called said his friends and family is forcing him not to retire.
However, India will take on Afridi-led Pakistan in Mirpur in their second fixture of the Asia Cup....