Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi is happy to be in the team but won’t outstay his welcome.
Pakistan veteran Shahid Afridi is targeting a place at the 2015 World Cup after being brought back into the side, but has vowed to quit if he becomes a burden on the team.
The 33-year-old was left out of the squad for the one-day series against India in December before staging a comeback for the tour of South Africa, but his woeful run of form has continued.
Afridi’s 88 in the third one-dayer in Johannesburg was his first half-century in the past 12 months and he has also struggled with his bowling, failing to take a single wicket in his last six matches.
Despite the slide in performance, Afridi, who has scored 7,201 runs and taken 348 wickets in 354 ODIs, said he was still hopeful he could make the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
“My fitness level is good and I want to continue playing at the top level,” Afridi told reporters. “The 2015 World Cup is in my mind but it depends on fitness and performance.”
Afridi was included in Pakistan’s initial 30-man squad for the Champions Trophy to be held in England in June, but must perform in the ongoing national one-day cup to make the final 15 to be announced next month.
He said he would quit for younger players to come through if he does not perform.
“When I felt I was not up to the mark in Tests, I left the five-day format,” said Afridi, who retired from Test cricket in 2010.
“I will not play by force neither would I like the selectors to select me without good performance.”
Afridi said he was doing his best to improve his bowling and demanded more respect for players.
“Cricket is because of the players and the cricket board must respect the players. If there is a mistake on the part of the players they must be told about that and if selectors want to drop them, they should tell the players,” said Afridi.
Afridi was removed as one-day captain in May 2011 despite leading Pakistan to the World Cup semi-final two months before.
Afridi said he expected Pakistan to do well in the Champions Trophy.
“Misbah-ul Haq is leading the team well and our combination is very good, so I expect better results if we stick to our plans and play to our potential,” said Afridi.
Pakistan is in group B of the eight-nation Trophy along with arch-rivals India, South Africa and the West Indies. Defending champions Australia, Sri Lanka, England and New Zealand make up group A.