Shahid Afridi's retirement rumours surfaced after Pakistan's defeat to Bangladesh in Asia Cup 2016 © AFP
Shahid Afridi’s retirement rumours surfaced after Pakistan’s defeat to Bangladesh in Asia Cup 2016 © AFP

Bangladesh’s win against Pakistan in a crucial encounter of the Asia Cup T20 2016 tournament took the cricket world by storm, and if that was not enough, unconfirmed reports emerged that Shahid Afridi will be retiring from international cricket with immediate effect. While there was no official word for a long time since the end of the game at Dhaka in which Bangladesh extended their winning streak against Pakistan to five limited-overs matches, the social media platforms were flooded with many credible sources talking about the retirement of the enigmatic Pakistani captain. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Bangladesh vs Pakistan, Asia Cup T20 2016, Match 8 at Dhaka

ICC World T20 2016 is impending, and Afridi is certainly among a few players who are being touted to leave the game post the end of the tournament. Afridi is Pakistan’s captain in the Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) — the only format he is active in the international circuit — and is being talked about as one of the players who may announce their retirement after the tournament in India. ALSO READ: Shahid Afridi to retire from international cricket?

Not many would have expected Pakistan to play as badly as they have in Asia Cup T20 2016, as their defeats to India and Bangladesh were more than just embarrassing. Pakistani batsmen simply did not turn up, and the bowlers could do very little to defend meagre totals in both matches. Even their win over UAE came after a scare, which saw Pakistan stumbling to 17 for 3 before Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik took charge to end the misery that day.

Pakistan’s problems are not only related to their batting, but their fielding is also a major concern. Far too many misfields and easy runs were given in the first three matches of Asia Cup T20 2016, and if Pakistan cricketers want to improve their chances in ICC World T20 2016 to be played in India in about a fortnight, they need a collective effort. At this junction, Afridi walking away from international cricket will serve no good to Pakistan. ALSO READ: Bangladesh beat Pakistan by 5 wickets; book place in Asia Cup T20 final against India

If at all Afridi is contemplating retirement following Pakistan’s humiliating exit from Asia Cup 2016, it will be a terrible move. Pakistan need their senior men more than ever and firing on all cylinders, and this will be a poor time if at all Afridi decides to walk away. He has been a strong character in the Pakistan dressing-room and role model for a youngster, and looking at their leader walking away at this tough hour will only dent their confidence.

It is true that Afridi has been talking about retirement, and despite tremendous pressure from his family and friends to continue playing, the Asia Cup 2016 exit can be a catalyst. However, Afridi and Pakistan cricket need to avoid any knee-jerk reaction to their defeat, as there are issues bigger than captaincy that Pakistan is reeling under.

(Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)