Pakistan’s disgruntled former captain Shahid Afridi said he wants to make an international comeback on Wednesday, but insisted that certain members of the national team management would first have to leave.
Last week the talismanic all-rounder appeared to have ended an ugly public spat with the Pakistan Cricket Board which followed his sudden retirement from the international game after he was dumped as one-day captain.
“I am not finished. I will come back in the team with respect but for that I will wait for the situation to improve and some people to be removed from the team management,” Afridi said before leaving for England.
The all-rounder will play for Hampshire in England’s Twenty20 tournament after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) reinstated his approval to play abroad – permission it had previously withdrawn.
The 31-year-old denied money was his only motive for playing county cricket abroad.
“To play for Pakistan has always been my priority,” said Afridi, who still holds the world record for the fastest one-day hundred – scored off just 37 balls against Sri Lanka in 1996.
“I get more money playing for Pakistan than in a county match, but money has never been my priority. I will come back but only if the situation improves.”
Earlier this month, the PCB suspended Afridi’s central contract and revoked permission from him to play abroad after he violated the terms of that contract by criticising the board and announcing his retirement.
Afridi filed a petition against the sanctions but the matter was later settled out of the court. A PCB disciplinary committee fined Afridi $53,000 but his permission to play abroad was reinstated.
The row began when Afridi developed differences with coach Waqar Younis over the team selection during Pakistan’s 3-2 win in the one-day series against the West Indies last month.
He publicly criticised Waqar and was dismissed as one-day captain.
Afridi refused to put a date on his return to the national team.
“I will wait for the right time to come,” said Afridi, hinting at the completion of PCB chairman Ijaz Butt’s three-year tenure in October.
“Everyone knows why I have resigned so there’s no use repeating it and I will not rescind that decision.
“I won a series in the West Indies, but was removed without any solid reason and that increased my apprehensions because my father was also seriously ill during that time,” said Afridi