KARACHI, May 06 (SABAH): Star all-rounder Shahid Khan Afridi on Saturday deplored the awful state of sports in Sindh province of Pakistan.
“Had Benazir Bhutto (two-time prime minister from Sindh) been alive, she would have taken notice of the state of sports in the province,” said Afridi while speaking at an event hosted by Sports Journalists Association in Karachi.
“I requested the Sindh government to allocate land for building a cricket academy in Karachi. But my request was denied,” he said.
Responding to a question, Afridi said that Imran Khan was the best Pakistani captain. “Misbah ul Haq led the Test team well in difficult times,” he added.
Afridi announced that he would represent English country Hampshire in the next season. “I will continue to play private leagues and country cricket,” he said.
The all-rounder said that despite difficult pitch, Pakistan should have won the second Test match against West Indies.
“Ahmed Shehzad is like a younger brother to me. I have always asked him to play his natural game. If he plays his natural game, he will do well for himself as well as for Pakistan. Otherwise, he will continue to struggle,” he opined.
To a question, he said that he never shied away from media. “Had I been a coward, I would not have accepted responsibility for Pakistan’s dismal show in the world cup,” he remarked.
Shahid Afridi spoke about Misbah vs Imran Khan debate and said that both have done wonders and are respectable for people of Pakistan. However, Afridi weighted his support in Misbah’s favour.
“Imran bhai was a great captain, he has his own place, but he had the support of match winners with him like Miandad and Wasim Akram,” Afridi said.
“While Misbah, in Test matches, has turned the table and has led the team out of a difficult situation with his performance,” the flamboyant all-rounder added.
He lambasted Sindh government for refusing to lend him land for starting a cricket academy.
Afridi told media that he had requested the Sindh government to allot him a land in Karachi where he can start a cricket academy, but the government refused to help him.
“I had requested to the Sindh government to lend me the land where I would have constructed a cricket academy to train aspiring cricketers, but they told me that they are unable to help me,” Afridi said.
“It is very unfortunate and regrettable. I think things here would have been much better if Benazir Bhutto was alive today,” added the flamboyant all-rounder.
The former captain revealed that his plan was to start an academy to prepare power-hitters for Pakistan and players there were to get training from foreign coaches.
Replying to a question, Afridi said that there are more sad moments in his 20-year cricket career than cheerful memories.
“There are few good memories, but cricket has made me cry more. My batting was always unpredictable and there were things which I think shouldn’t have happened,” Afridi said without elaborating further on what were his bitter memories.
Afridi added that PCB should benefit from the experiences of Misbah and Younis after the retirement of the experienced duo.
“They are not the people who have wasted time in air-conditioned rooms, they have worked at grass root and know inside out of our cricket structure, PCB should utilise their experience for the betterment of Pakistan cricket,” he added.