Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has revealed that he was ready to be the skipper of the national side four-five years ago but the “big honour” eluded him as the Cricket Board (PCB) had failed to keep its promise.
“I was ready (to be the captain) four to five years ago but somebody else was appointed instead. The PCB had told me that I would be the captain but the next day they had announced that I would not be the captain,” Afridi said.
“I was really hurt. They didn't need to tell me that at all. But now a lot of water has gone under the bridge and it is a new chapter,” he said.
The flamboyant all-rounder said he is enjoying captaincy despite the pressures that have come with the responsibility.
“I am enjoying the captaincy as I have been entrusted with the responsibility. It is not just about leading the 17 players, it is about leading the entire country,” Afridi said.
“If I don't have the ability then I will leave it on my own. I've been playing for 13-14 years now and to finally get the captain's post is definitely a big honour.
“Hence there is pressure, which comes out of expectations of the people and my own. It is a difficult job because it is natural for the captains from the sub-continent to face overwhelming pressure constantly. But my country has given me a name and I take any difficulty as a challenge,” he added.
Afridi, who made his Test debut against Australia in 1998, also has a clear perception of what are the traits of a good captain.
“Nobody is a born captain. He learns with time. He works closely with the boys. He works with senior players, asks them for suggestions and devises strategy. He needs to work closely with the coach and that relationship needs to be strong.
“It can't be just you on your own. You need to do all these things if you want to be a good captain. You can't get personal with players on the ground _ every player is equal,” he told Cricinfo.
“I've always believed it is important to be clean from inside. I cannot favour any player, let him be a junior or senior. That is because it is a position the almighty has given me ... so I cannot think of doing anything wrong”.
“Yes, it is slightly difficult to take everybody along with you always. But it is not impossible. For that you need good and sincere people around you. You need the management personnel who can help you out with various things. A captain can't be asked to get into every decision,” Afridi added.
Afridi also said that he takes very few suggestions from the senior players.
“If I feel I need to pick someone's brains, I will do it. Too many ideas make the job difficult. Once I take a decision, I stick to it,” he said.