Hitting out at his critics for questioning his place in the Pakistan team, all-rounder Shahid Afridi said he would quit the game the day he feels himself a burden to his team.
“I will sideline myself, the moment I start thinking that I’m becoming a burden on my team. I will not let anyone an opportunity to talk. As long as I’m fit and give my life to cricket, I’ll continue playing the sport,” Afridi told reporters ahead of Pakistan’s Asia Cup summit clash against Sri Lanka.
“I want to give something to my country with my performance. There is no such thing that you will score runs with the bat every day. I’ve given my focus to bowling as well. I want to get myself ready in such a way that I deliver to the team, be it in batting or bowling,” he said at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
Afridi had to face a lot criticism for his inconsistency as many experts back home in Pakistan had questioned his place in the team. The 34-year-old replied at his critics with a 34 not out against India and a 25-ball 59 against Bangladesh to take the defending champions into the Asia Cup final.
Asked to rate his two latest knocks, Afridi said, “There are many reasons that I won’t like to rate them but both of them were very important for me as well as for the country.”
Afridi said he knew best what he was doing and he did not need a coach.
“As I’ve said earlier also, having played at this level for so many years, I don’t need a coach. Mein apna coach behter hoon (I am better off with coaching myself). I know what to do and what not to do. It’s about having the right people to back you and support you.”
Asked about the current Pakistani support staff, he said, “It was different earlier, it’s not that it was not good. It was better earlier so also today. The support team that we have now are all knowledgeable and keeps you positive.”
In a thrilling last over finish against India, Afridi smashed Ravichandran Ashwin for two sixes in the last over to seal a one-wicket victory on March 1, much the similar way Javed Miandad had done against Chetan Sharma in a Sharjah humdinger in 1986.
But after that Miandad heroics, Pakistan had suffered a string of defeats against India. Asked whether it will have the same effect this time around also, he said (with a smile), “It’s up to the Indian team how do they take these sixes)…”
Afridi further said he was looking forward to doing well in the 2015 World Cup. “Obviously, the World Cup 2015 is going to be a huge thing for me and my team.”
Incidentally, it was in Australia, Pakistan had tasted their lone World Cup triumph in 1992.
“There’s a lot of time to go for 2015. We have a lot of big series coming up. The management is supporting, if we continue to have the right kind of combination, and with God’s blessings, we hope to win the World Cup,” Afridi said.