Is this the type of send-off Afridi deserves?

Published: Thursday, June 2, 2011, 9:57 [IST]
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Afridi subjected to unceremonious exit

Islamabad, June 2: It appears Pakistan's cricket management doesn't know how to value their most talented veteran players. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has a knack of turning simple squabbles with them into overblown spats, often resulting in its infliction of the severest of punitive action. After past captains Mohammad Yousuf and Shoiab Malik were all but shown the door, Shahid Afridi is now in the process of being dethroned as one-day skipper of the side and flung out on his ear. Perhaps he is at fault for getting on the wrong side of a very insecure and rigid board, but in any event, this is no way to treat a man with a glowing resume.

The young upstart who burst onto the scene in the late 1990s and redefined the term "lusty" hitting by quite literally expanding the boundaries, Shahid Afridi was and is nothing short of a phenomenon. As a one-day specialist opener, the Pashtoon from Pakistan's unruly North Western Frontier Province, brought the aggressive chaos that his province is characterised by, onto the cricket field. It was in this milieu that he earned a respected name for himself. His 39-ball ODI century still stands atop a glistening list of achievements. And in quick time, he demonstrated that he possessed the repertoire, verve and temperament to propser in the Test arena as well.

Though his potency as a batsman has diminished over the last decade, he has aptly reinvented himself as a destructive leg-break. This new avatar blatantly showed face in the World Cup earlier this year. He wound up the tournament as the top wicket-taker on the basis of a fantastic average, though Indian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan tied him at 21 scalps. As skipper, he was largely responsible for effecting a prosperous campaign in the global event. But the fact that he took Pakistan to the top of Group A and eventually to the semi-finals, appears to have been conveniently brushed aside by a headstrong and egotistic PCB.

As though Pakistan cricket is not going through gut-wrenching upheaval as it is, with a runaway wicketkeeper, spot-"fixed" ace pacemen and raw talent being shoved off the bench at the drop of a hat, now the captain finds himself swirling in the PCB's soup. If they know what's good for Pakistan cricket at this juncture, the men running Pak cricket had best extend a hand to him and yank him back out.

Oneindia Cricket

Read more about: shahid afridi, pcb, retirement, pakistan
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