LONDON: Charismatic all-rounder Shahid Afridi is likely to take over as Pakistan’s Twenty20 captain after Younis Khan announced his retirement from the shortest version of the game.
Afridi, 29, was Pakistan’s hero in their successful ICC World Twenty20 campaign and is one of his team’s senior most players. He has never hidden his desire to lead Pakistan and is now likely to be rewarded for his stunning performances in the 12-nation tournament.
He hit an unbeaten fifty to lead Pakistan to a comfortable eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka to finish as the man of the final. He was unlucky not to get the man of the tournament award that went to Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan for his prolific batting in the competition.
Afridi took 11 wickets and scored 176 runs with two fifties which came in the semifinal and the final. He was the player of the match in both the big games.
At the presentation ceremony after the final, Afridi attributed his success to the confidence shown in his abilities by captain Younis Khan. “The guys were really motivated,” he said after receiving his award.
Just a day before the final, Afridi had once again expressed his desire to lead Pakistan in international cricket before retiring. “It is my greatest desire to lead Pakistan before I retire from the game,” said Afridi. But he was quick to add that he loves to play under Younis Khan.
“Younis is a great captain. He motivates you a lot and inspires trust,” said Afridi. It seems that Afridi is happy to play under Younis in One-day Internationals and also in Tests if he earns a comeback and become Pakistan’s Twenty20 captain.