Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has ruled out retirement from cricket and said he will continue plying his trade in domestic Twenty20 leagues across the globe as long as he remains fit.
Afridi, who turned 38 on Thursday (March 1), revealed motivation to keep playing the sport comes from his fans and foundation -- Shahid Afridi Foundation, which is aimed at improving education and healthcare facilities for the underprivileged in Pakistan.
The Pakistan star brought the curtains down on his 21-year-long international career in 2017 after multiple U-turns on retirement announcements in the past. Ever since, Afridi has been a T20 globetrotter, playing for cash-rich leagues in the West Indies (Caribbean Premier League), England (NatWest T20 Blast) and Bangladesh (Bangladesh Premier League) among others.
The 2009 World T20 winner is currently representing Karachi Kings in Pakistan Super League (PSL) third edition. He moved from former franchise Peshawar Zalmi and is now the president-cum-player at his new franchise.
"Well, retirement I think, I have mentioned that I have left international cricket over a year-and-a-half back. However, I will continue to play domestic leagues until I feel I am fit and I think I can continue. There is also a new format introduced now, T10 [matches comprising 10 overs per innings]," Afridi told ARY Sports.
He added: "Cricket is not leaving me now. My main aim is to enjoy cricket. I have already discussed this in the past. I will continue to play cricket for my fans and also my foundation."
Afridi sent his fans into a tizzy during the Kings' opening match against Quetta Gladiators in Dubai on February 23 with a game-changing and stunning catch along the boundary lines.
The senior campaigner's presence has certainly bolstered Imad Wasim's team, who are sitting pretty at the top of the table with three wins in as many games. Despite not shining with the bat, Afridi has managed to pick up seven wickets, including a match-winning 3/19 against Lahore Qalandars on February 26.
Return to international cricket on cards?
Meanwhile, Afridi might make an unexpected return to international cricket later this year as he has a chance of representing World XI against the West Indies in a charity match, which has been accorded international status, at the Lord's Cricket Ground on May 31.
The former Pakistan all-rounder, who was part of inaugural Ice Cricket tournament in Switzerland last month, had told Wisden India he was unaware of the details but will consider the offer, if it comes his way.
Some of the current stars of Pakistan cricket will not be able to participate in the charity match, intended to help raise funds for hurricane-affected stadium in the West Indies, as they will be involved in a two-Test series in England between May 24 and June 5.