A teary-eyed Asghar Afghan said his decision to retire in the middle of the ongoing T20 World Cup was triggered by the pain that he and his teammates endured after Afghanistan’s heart-breaking loss to Pakistan in their previous match.
Afghanistan suffered a five-wicket loss in their Super 12 match against Pakistan in which Asif Ali smashed four sixes in the penultimate over, with the team requiring 24 off the last two overs, to end the contest.
Less than 24 hours after the match, former skipper Afghan, who holds the record of most T20I wins as captain, announced his decision to retire after the match against Namibia.
“In the last match, we were hurt too much, and that’s why I decided to retire,” Asghar, who has led Afghanistan in 115 matches, said wiping his tears during a chat after the end of the first innings.
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Afghanistan’s Asghar Afghan announces retirement during T20 World Cup 2021
“There are plenty of memories, it’s difficult for me, but I have to retire.” The 33-year-old played six Tests, 114 ODIs and 75 T20Is, including the Namibia match, in a creditable career, scoring 4246 runs across formats.
“I want to give chance to youngsters. I think this is a good opportunity for that. Most people are asking me why now, but it’s something I cannot explain,” said Afghan, who scored a 23-ball 31 on Sunday.
Afghanistan will next play India on November 3 and New Zealand on November 7.
The team is playing at the ICC event at a time when the country itself is in turmoil following the Taliban takeover.
The future of Afghan cricketers is also uncertain due to the drastic changes in the political landscape. The Taliban have already barred women from playing the game.