Within weeks of announcing retirement from international cricket, former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi today said, he would try making a comeback to the national team as soon as “conditions improve in the team management and administration.”
Afridi today left for England to play for Hampshire insisting that his international career was still not over.
The all-rounder, who was removed as captain of the national one-day team last month and then got entangled into a tussle with the Pakistan Cricket Board before being fined Rs 4.5 million on disciplinary grounds, will appear for Hampshire in the English domestic Twenty20 competition.
“I am happy that I am getting a chance to play for Hampshire because wherever I play at the end of the day I am recognized as a Pakistani and if I do well it is Pakistan cricket that gets a good name,” Afridi told reporters at the airport.
Afridi, who left with his family, will play his first match for the county on Friday against Gloucestershire and will remain in England until July 15 before going to Sri Lanka for the Sri Lankan Premier League.
The all-rounder had to return from England earlier this month to face PCB’s disciplinary hearing after the NOC issued to him to play for Hampshire was revoked by the Board as part of the disciplinary proceedings against him.
The Board issued him the NOC after he appeared before the disciplinary committee and admitted he had breached the code of conduct and was subsequently fined for his misconduct.
Afridi made it clear that he still wanted to play international cricket.
“I want to play for Pakistan again because whatever I am today it is because of Pakistan. My identity is that of a Pakistani player. And nothing is more important than that for me,” Afridi said.
“The moment conditions improve in the team management and administration I will try to make a comeback. Right now I just feel that the environment and conditions is not conducive for me to play international cricket.
“I still have lot of top cricket left in me but it all depends on the circumstances but I am clear in my mind that I still have lot to offer to the national team,” he added.
Afridi has said that he would not play for Pakistan until the present board set-up led by Chairman Ijaz Butt is changed.
The all-rounder, who was sacked as captain after developing differences with the team management, admitted he had been unable to focus on cricket in the last few weeks.
“I have not been able to train which is why I appear to have put on some weight. It has been difficult to focus on cricket. But now I have put everything behind me and want to make a fresh start to my career with this stint for Hampshire,” he said.
Afridi said for the moment he would concentrate on domestic foreign leagues to keep himself ready for a return to international cricket.