Shahid Afridi continues to back allrounder Shoaib Malik’s claim for a spot in Pakistan’s squad for ICC T20 World Cup set to be played later this year in India. However, there was a time when once Malik was appointed team captain in 2009, Afridi almost ended his international career after being fed up by the politics going around.
You would feel that the team spirit would be at its peak considering Pakistan had just won the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2009 but if Afridi is to be believed, that wasn’t the case.
“I decided not to play cricket anymore,” Afridi told Samaa TV in an interview. “Shoaib Malik had become the captain and there was a lot of politics going on within the team."
The 41-year-old also recalled the infamous dressing room incident that saw former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar hitting teammate Mohammed Asif with a bat. Akhtar, in his autobiography, has blamed Afridi for adding fuel to the fire.
“Afridi was aggravating the situation and I swung the bat at both of them. Afridi ducked, but Asif couldn’t get out of the way, the bat struck him on his thighs and he collapsed. I had lost it. I had never behaved like this, especially in the dressing room,” Akhtar wrote in Controversially Yours.
However, Afridi says Asif sided with him on a joke that angered Akhtar. “Asif had sided with me in a joke which enraged Shoaib and all this happened. But Shoaib has a very beautiful heart,” he said.
Afridi played 27 Tests, 398 ODIs and 99 T20Is between 1996 and 2018. He scored 11196 runs across formats and took 541 wickets as well.
He burst onto the international stage with a 37-ball century in October 1996 which was then the fastest hundred in ODI history, a record that remained intact for over 17 years before New Zealand allrounder Corey Anderson broke in 2013, taking one less delivery.
AB de Villiers then broke the record in 2015, hitting a century in mere 31 deliveries.