India have resources to even form two teams: Shahid Afridi

Shahid Afridi lauded India’s effort to rebuild the team after retirement of senior players © Getty Images

Karachi: Jul 9, 2013

Flamboyant allrounder Shahid Afridi has heaped praise on Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men and said the Indian cricket team has so much depth in talent that they could easily select two separate sides.

“Look at the way they have rebuilt their team even after the retirement of some of their top players. The talent they have is impresive and they can easily make two teams,” Afridi said.

The former captain, who has made a comeback to the national squad for West Indies series, implored the cricket authorities including the selectors to treat senior Pakistan players with dignity and respect.

Afridi said in an interview prior to his departure with the national team for the West Indies tour that he was ready to retire from international cricket the moment he felt time was up for him.

“I am ready to go because every player has his time and has to retire. Only thing I want is that even if the selectors or board feels my time is over they should just call me and tell me what they feel. I have no problems with that. I just want to be given respect and dignity that every senior player deserves after serving the country for so many years,” Afridi said on Geo News channel.

It is a common complaint among senior players in Pakistan that they are not given the opportunity to gracefully exit from the sport.

Afridi said he would not like to carry on playing if he is not performing well for the team.

“I have a target to play the 2015 World Cup but even I know that I must perform and remain fit to achieve that target,” he said.

Afridi also advised the board that whenever a player was dropped from the team for poor form or any other reason the concerned authorities must follow up on him at the national cricket academy.

“I was dropped because of poor form but did anyone tell me go to the national academy and did anyone try to work with me to find out what was wrong with me,” he said.

Afridi minced no words in stating that the national cricket academy was still not being used properly and productively.

The former captain also made it clear that he had enjoyed the honor of leading the national team and if the board offered him this job again he would accept it.

“If the board offers me such a responsibility again I will definitely talk to them because I love to accept challenges and captaincy was always a big source of pride for me,” he said.

Afridi was removed as one-day and T20 captain in May, 2011 after leading Pakistan into the World Cup semi-finals by the former PCB Chairman, Ijaz Butt on disciplinary grounds.

This forced Afridi to announce his retirement from the sport and he only reversed the decision when Butt was replaced by Zaka Ashraf in October, 2011.

Afridi said that episode still haunted him and he still felt hurt and disappointed that after giving so much as player and captain he was treated this way.

“I have never given anything less than 100 per cent when playing for Pakistan and after so much hard work to built the team after the spot fixing scandal I was hurt the way I was treated. But I decided to fight on and not give up,” he said.