Shahid Afridi, Pakistan's recently axed one-day captain, has announced his "conditional" retirement from the international game, as a mark of protest against the way he has been "humiliated" by the PCB. However, Afridi said he was ready to reverse his decision if and when a new board came into power. (Also Read: PCB to discuss Waqar-Afridi spat in details | Afridi called Akram for advise day before being sacked)
"There is nothing bigger than a man's respect, and the way the board has treated me, there is a limit to everything," Afridi was quoted as saying by Geo TV in Pakistan and by the Jang newspaper. "I will not play under this board. If a different board comes in, I will definitely return but I cannot play under this board. When you have been humiliated like this, by dishonourable people, what is the point in playing on? (Also Read: Afridi pulls out of Ireland series)
"The way I've been treated ... the future doesn't look too good. I can't play under a board that doesn't respect its players. Because of this, under protest, this is a conditional retirement.
"I wasn't told anything when I was made captain, I wasn't given a tenure, I wasn't told what my squad would be, nothing. I took a broken team along with me. Maybe I have become a thorn in their throats. Its better that I step aside for now as I have respect for myself."
The retirement follows on the heels of Afridi's sacking as ODI captain despite Pakistan's 3-2 success against West Indies. Though the board did not give official reasons for the removal, it was believed to be the result of growing differences Afridi had with coach Waqar Younis, in particular over matters of selection.
"We had very solid reasons to remove Afridi and I will reveal them when the time is right," PCB chairman Ijaz Butt had said. "We haven't taken this action without any reasons."
On his return from the Caribbean, Afridi referred to the situation with Waqar, saying, "Although the differences in team management are not such which could not be solved, I feel everyone should do his job and need not interfere in other's work". That led to the board issuing him a showcause notice to explain his remarks, and presumably formed part of the reasons for his removal. Subsequently Afridi decided to pull out of the two ODIs against Ireland; speculation was that he was unhappy over his ouster, though he said he had decided to miss the series due to his father's ill-health. Pakistan have since gone on to win that series 2-0, though they were stretched in the second match.
Afridi is not new to retirement. He first announced a temporary sabbatical from Test cricket in April 2006, in a bid to concentrate only on ODIs in the lead-up to the 2007 World Cup. But he then said that he would reconsider his 'retirement' after the World Cup. He later returned to the side, and even led Pakistan's Test side at the start of their tumultuous tour of England last summer. He, however, once again retired from the longest format, as soon as Pakistan lost the first Test against Australia at Lord's. Afridi was one of the culprits in Pakistan's spineless second-innings effort, holing out against part-timer Marcus North who ran through the line-up.
"With my temperament I can't play Test cricket," Afridi said then. "I wasn't interested in playing Test cricket but the board asked me to go and take a look as they didn't have a choice. But I wasn't really enjoying Test cricket but I tried. I wasn't good enough. A captain should lead by example which I did not."
Afridi was replaced by the then vice-captain Salman Butt, who held the reins until he was ousted following the spot-fixing scandal, at which stage Misbah took charge of the Test side. Afridi remained at the helm in the shorter versions, and led from the front as Pakistan outperformed in the lead-up to, and during, the 2011 World Cup.
Afridi is currently in England and is set to play for Hampshire in the Friends Provident t20. He will also be available for the inaugural edition of the Sri Lankan Premier League, and will participate in domestic cricket in Pakistan.