Shahid Afridi went to London on Wednesday to launch his career as a “retired” player when he will debut in Hampshire for Friends of Pro-T20 clash against Essex Eagles at Chelmsford.
The star of all trades, who announced his retirement from international cricket in a bitter dispute with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is pleased to return to action in cricket.
“I’m really keen to get back in operation,” Afridi told the “News” in an interview on Wednesday.
“The last week has been pretty frustrating, but thankfully it’s over now.”
Until a few days ago, it seemed that Afridi will not be able to perform his duties with lucrative Hampshire where he was busy fighting in court against the PCB.
It all started when Afridi was relieved of his captain Pakistan a day last month after referring to the discord in the management of the national team after his team’s 3-2 win in the series limited-overs against West Indies.
In response to the snub, Afridi announced his retirement from international cricket and closed the PCB of “abuse” him. The PCB decided to retaliate by suspending his central contract and revoke all certificates of no objection blocking the player’s participation in the case of Pro-T20 friends in England.
Afridi went home and filed a petition in Sindh High Court. A few days later he withdrew his request after a meeting with PCB chief Ijaz Butt. The Council struck with a heavy fine of Rs.4.5 million people agree to give NOC to play for Hampshire.
The entire episode was an amazing turnaround for the 31 years that was hailed as a hero in March last year when he led Pakistan to the semifinals of the World Cup.
However, Afridi said he will not delve into the past.
“All I think about is how to find my way, both as a bowler and a drummer,” said Afridi, who is one of the most successful in the world, off the road in short formats of the game.
“I look forward to as well as an all-rounder for Hampshire,” said the player who scored 6695 points and bagged 315 wickets in One-day Internationals. It is also one of the most productive players in Twenty20 Internationals with 683 points and 53 wickets from 43 matches.
Afridi at its peak during the 2011 World Cup leg spinner in the peninsula, where he became one of the most successful bowlers in the 16-nation show. But his performance in the chart located in the Caribbean, where he flopped in both bat and ball.
However, unplanned but well-earned sabbatical from cricket has failed to Afridi in a lively mood.
“I felt a bit exhausted after the World Cup, which is probably why my performance was not up to the mark against the West Indies,” he said.
“But I feel much better now and I have really wanted to play cricket, it’s a good sign.”