x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Afridi adds to Pakistan's woes

Captain quits Test cricket for third time after defeat to Australia, says he does not possess the mental skills for the long game.

Pakistan's Shahid Afridi, second left, consults a copy of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack after yesterday's defeat to Australia.
Pakistan's Shahid Afridi, second left, consults a copy of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack after yesterday's defeat to Australia.

Captain Shahid Afridi added to the turmoil afflicting Pakistan cricket yesterday by announcing his decision to quit the Test arena after his side were beaten within four days by Australia at Lord's. Afridi, 30, was persuaded by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to come out of a four-year retirement and lead his country in two Tests against Australia followed by four against England.

Now Pakistan must find their sixth captain since 2007 for the England series after Afridi announced he would play his last Test at Headingley in Leeds next week. By contrast Australia, who completed a record 13th consecutive win over Pakistan yesterday with a 150-run victory, have had only four captains in the past 25 years. Signs that Afridi could not, or would not, come to terms with the demands of Test cricket were apparent in the first innings when he hit 31 in 15 minutes before throwing his wicket away.

His second innings was even more irresponsible after Pakistan had made a promising start in their quest for a world-record 440 winning target. Afridi lasted only four balls for two when he was caught on the mid-wicket boundary to give off-spinner Marcus North one of his six wickets. North's figures of six for 55 were the best ever recorded by an Australian spinner at Lord's. "I was not interested in playing Test cricket but the cricket board just asked me," Afridi said. "I think my temperament is not good enough for Test cricket.

"I have a side injury, I am struggling with injury so I think that's it. I will play my last test in Leeds." Afridi contributed to Pakistan's 14th consecutive test loss to Australia by scoring only a 15-ball 31 and, on the last day, two when he tried to hit match-winning spinner Marcus North into the stands for six only to be caught on the midwicket boundary. "I decided to quit this game when I was walking off," he added. "In one-day and Twenty20 I am enjoying myself and you can get a result in one day. "I always say a captain should show an example to the team but I didn't show a good example. *Agencies

Pakistan (2nd innings, 114-1 overnight): Butt st Paine b North 92 Azhar c Paine b Hilfenhaus 42 Amin c Katich b North 33 U Akmal c Clarke b North 22 K Akmal b Smith 46 Afridi c Hussey b North 2 Aamer c Hussey b North 19 Gul c Ponting b Smith 1 Kaneria c Ponting b North 2 Asif not out 1 Extras 2b, 1lb, 2nb 5 Total (all out, 91.1 overs) 289 Fall of wickets: 2-152; 3-186; 4-216; 5-227; 6-229; 7-283; 8-285; 9-287; 10-289; Bowling: Bollinger 12-4-43-0; Hilfenhaus 16-8-37-1; Johnson 18-5-74-0; Smith 21-5-51-3; Watson 6-0-26-0; North 18.1-1-55-6.