Afridi makes low-key return to cricket

Shahid Afridi was last seen in action in Pakistan during a domestic event in October 2010 AFP

Karachi: Aug 12, 2011

Retired Pakistani player Shahid Afridi made a disappointing return to the cricket field as he scored just one run and took one wicket in the Ramazan T20 Corporate Cup tournament.

Afridi, who was last seen in action in Pakistan during a domestic event in October 2010, played for Habib Bank, which was shocked last night by the unfancied KESC team in the tournament, being organised by former captain Moin Khan.

Afridi has only played T20 cricket in England since retiring from international cricket last May in protest against the PCB’s decision to remove him as captain after the West Indies tour.

How popular the all-rounder remains with the public, despite his conflict with the cricket establishment and his retirement, was visible the moment he walked on to the field.

The crowd cheered and roared ‘Boom Boom Afridi’ as he walked out to field with Pakistan captain Younis Khan, leading the star studded Bank side.

But Afridi was off color as he managed just one wicket and late while opening the innings was out in second over aiming for a trademark big shot.

“I don’t care if he has failed but we want him back in the national team. There is no fun watching cricket without him,” star struck teenager Ramsha said.

Afridi, who decide to leave early to avoid the post match rush, found himself mobbed by his legion of fans who rushed to him as he was being escorted to the car park by the police and private security personal.

The all-rounder spent time with his fans and obliged them with autographs and photographs before he was safely escorted away to his waiting car.

“There is no doubt that he still is a star attraction and people come just to watch him play,” former Test player and ex-chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed said.

Afridi has said he will not make himself available for Pakistan until there is a change in the team management and the Board also improves.

The Board has removed long serving manager Intikhab Alam as manager of the Pakistan team and also sidelined assistant coach Aaqib Javed and assistant manager Shahid Aslam for the Zimbabwe tour although head coach Waqar Younis remains in power. (PTI)