I want to focus only on cricket, says Shahid Afridi

Shahid Afridi has been recalled to the national team for Pakistan’s One-Day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka, starting Friday Getty Images

Dubai: Nov 9, 2011

Recalled Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi Tuesday showed confidence to hit his turbulent past six months for a big six, saying he wants to perform for the country and his fans.

The 31-year-old all-rounder was recalled in Pakistan squad for the five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka, starting in Dubai with the first game on Friday.

Both teams will also play a Twenty20 international in Abu Dhabi. Pakistan won the three-Test series 1-0 on Monday.

The popular hard-hitting batsman, who holds the world record of scoring the fastest one-day century — off 37 balls made against Sri Lanka in Nairobi in 1997 — said he is set to put aside all his problems.

“I think its all about cricket, its time to play and I don’t want to involve myself in any other thing other than cricket,” said Afridi, who in May this year had a fall out with then coach Waqar Younis over selection issues.

Afridi’s outburst after the one-day series against the West Indies prompted the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to sack him as captain, a punishment which led Afridi’s self-imposed retirement from international cricket.

When he retired, the PCB suspended his contract and revoked his NOCs to play abroad, an action which Afridi challenged in the court.

But the matter was finally settled after Afridi appeared before a PCB disciplinary committee which fined him $53,000 and revoked his NOC to play for English county Hampshire.

After Waqar quit and PCB chairman Ijaz Butt replaced, Afridi announced his comeback last month.

Afridi said he felt great and will try to come up to expectations.

“It feels great because I have come back after a long time, a lot of people want me to perform and everyone has supported me, so this is the time to play cricket,” said Afridi.

“I definitely missed Pakistan team, it’s my first priority and after I missed two tours I am back and will hopefully do well,” said Afridi.

Afridi has so far played 325 one-day and 43 Twenty20 internationals for Pakistan. He retired from Test cricket last year after playing 27 Tests. (AFP)