Shahid Afridi to quit ODIs after 2015 World Cup

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Karachi, Dec 22: In a bid to concentrate on his T20 career, Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has announced that he will retire from one-day internationals after the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

World Cup fixtures

"I always wanted to retire from ODIs with self-respect, grace and on a high and I think this is the best time to now focus only on T20 matches," Afridi said in a press conference here.

Afridi won't be playing ODIs after the World Cup

"I am just happy that I have had the courage to take this decision at the right time. Because in the past I have seen bigger players than me not being able to decide when it was the right time for them to go," he said.

The former Pakistan captain said he would, after the 50-over showpiece event, give full time to his role as the captain of the national T20 side leading up to the World Cup in 2016.

"The T20 World Cup is in India and it is my desire our team wins the title there. I will be playing a lot of T20 cricket after the World Cup and try to build up a strong team for the 2016 event," he said.

Afridi said he had discussed his decision with the Pakistan team management but had not informed the cricket board as yet.

"I am the first Pakistan player to be able to announce his retirement properly and this is good enough for me because I have already achieved a lot in ODIs," he said. Afridi, 34, has played 389 one-day internationals, 27 Tests and 77 T20 matches for Pakistan.

Landmark of 400 wickets beckons

He held the ODI record for the fastest century made in 1996/97 against Kenya until New Zealand's Corey Anderson bettered it this year.

Afridi who is close to completing 400 wickets and 8000 runs in ODIs having taken 391 wickets and scored 7870 runs so far said he wanted to achieve this landmark in the World Cup.

"A big burden is off my mind so I will be able to focus on my game a lot more in the World Cup and I am sure I can reach these landmarks," he said.

The big all-rounder, known as "Boom Boom" for his big hitting exploits, said he was focusing on both bowling and batting as this was the requirement of the team.

Afridi led Pakistan in the last three one-dayers against New Zealand recently in the UAE due to injury to regular captain, Misbah-ul-Haq.

'I wish Misbah a speedy recovery'

Asked about his leadership ambitions, Afridi insisted he had never run after the captaincy and it always came to him.

"Even now I didn't ask for it came my way. If I wanted I could have refused to lead the team but for me the team is above everything else and I also wish Misbah a speedy recovery so that he can lead the team in the World Cup," he added.

The all-rounder has already stopped playing Test matches since 2010 when he retired after leading Pakistan in the first test of a two test series against Australia in England insisting he didn't enjoy playing the five day game.

Known for his run-ins with the establishment and his outspoken comments on Pakistan cricket Afridi said he had always been spurred on by the support of his seniors, fans and the media.

"They have always backed me in my bad and good times and this is what has kept me going so far," he stated.

PTI

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