LAHORE: Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has rubbished rumours that his decision to quit the Test captaincy and retire from the longer version of the game was due to problems with his teammates. “I have no problems with anyone, neither am I unhappy with anyone. My decision to retire from Tests was not an emotional one,” Afridi told the national media after returning home from England. Afridi stunned Pakistan cricket fans when he announced his decision to retire from Tests after leading the team in the first Test against Australia at Lord’s earlier this month. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had to appoint opener Salman Butt in his place as Test captain for the matches in England but Afridi said he plans to continue playing ODIs and T20s as skipper and will join the team later on in England.
“I didn’t take an emotional decision. I took it after much thought. I realised after the Test I was not able to adjust to Test cricket so I took the decision. I took the decision in the larger interests of the team because I didn’t want to continue playing in a form of cricket to which I was not adjusting,” Afridi maintained. The flamboyant all-rounder appeared in his first Test against Australia in four years time and Pakistan lost by 150 runs. Afridi made it clear he had all the support of the team behind him as a captain and a senior player. He supported the decision to elevate Salman to the role of Test captain. “I think Salman is a good choice because he has now been playing for some years and has a good sense of cricket,” he said.
But Afridi cautioned his teammates to be prepared for a tough series against England that started on Thursday at Nottingham. “I think England would be a tougher opponent than Australia in English conditions because they have home advantage and they are playing well at the moment,” he said. Afridi said Pakistan’s strength lay in its bowling. “Salman can rely on Muhammad Aamer, Muhammad Asif and Umar Gul because they are bowling the best I have seen them bowl for a while now,” he said.