Pakistan batter Asad Shafiq retires from all forms of cricket

Asad Shafiq, the former Pakistan Test middle-order batter, has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket and is expected to take up a position as a national selector.

Shafiq, 37, was a core part of the Misbah-ul-Haq Test side in the 2010s, playing a vital role in their rise to the top of the Test rankings in August 2016. He announced his retirement on Sunday, after captaining the Karachi Whites side to the National T20 title, beating Abbotabad in the final in Karachi. He has agreed to play three games for his department side SNGPL (Sui Northern Gas Pipelines) in the returning Patron’s Trophy – the first-class tournament for department teams – because they will be missing several players away on Test duty. But effectively, the T20 final was his farewell.

Shafiq played the last of his 77 Tests for Pakistan in 2020, nearly 10 years after his debut. He had been a regular on the domestic circuit since, though he said after the final that he was no longer feeling as excited about the game as he used to.

“I’m no longer feeling that excitement and passion that I did when I first started playing the game,” he said. “I wanted to thank all those who have helped me through my career.

“After being dropped in 2020 I kept on playing domestic cricket for three years in the hope of getting another crack at the Pakistan team. But before the start of this season, I had decided this would be my last season because I felt that closing in on 38 years of age this was time to retire instead of people telling me to step down.”

Alongside Misbah, Younis Khan and Azhar Ali, Shafiq formed a middle order that was the bedrock of much of Pakistan’s success, especially during their years of exile in the UAE. He ended his career with 4660 runs at an average of 38.19, though in his best phases it hovered near the mid-40s. That was a function partially of him playing the majority of his Tests at No. 6, as a bridge between the engine room and a perennially fragile lower order. Famously, he has the most Test hundreds from that position; he went past Sir Garry Sobers’ record after one of his most memorable centuries, a 137 at the Gabba that nearly took Pakistan home in a mammoth chase of 490.
That hundred came soon after his 109 at The Oval, in a win that not only levelled the series but also took Pakistan to the top of the Test rankings. Shafiq had made his international debut in England, in the immediate aftermath of the 2010 spot-fixing scandal, playing his first ODIs on that tour and his first Test in November that year, as Misbah took over as captain. “It was quite difficult after the 2010 incident and we had to win the trust of the public back,” he said.

A future as a selector in Wahab Riaz’s new-look committee now awaits, as Shafiq waits for his contract to be finalised.

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