LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 31: Shahid Afridi of ICC World XI waves to the crowd as he leaves the field during the T20 match between ICC World XI and West Indies at Lord's Cricket Ground on May 31, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Shahid Afridi’s Last Post-Match Press Conference: “It was an honour”

Emotions were running high on Thursday, as the West Indies took on an ICC Rest of the World XI in a bid to raise money for the restoration of cricket facilities in the Caribbean. Five cricket grounds had been damaged by the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

It was also an emotional day for Shahid Afridi. The Pakistan legend revealed that this game would be his last ever international match. This brought to an end a revolutionary and inspirational career. It was a privilege for me to witness the end of the journey and speak to him after his last ever game.

Afridi was exceptionally humble as he spoke to the press for the last time as a player. For him, the focus was not on ending his career but rather for the cause for which the game was being played. When asked to assess his team’s performance, he replied:

“the cause was bigger than anything… I was not 100% but because of the cause I was here”

Earlier in May, Afridi had posted on social media that he felt a duty as a Muslim to support this charity.

Indeed, Afridi stunned us with his immense generosity as he announced that he would be donating an incredible $20,000 from the Shahid Afridi foundation to the Caribbean. Instead of focusing on his own contribution, he labelled this donation as being “from the people of Pakistan… to the people affected”.

The captain of the Rest of the World XI team was full of respect for his opposition. When discussing the game he said “they are champions, they played like champions” and noted that once they had put 200 on the board and had reduced the Rest of the World Xi to 8/4 “you do not expect to win”.

The setting of the conference was rather surreal, as it took place in the MCC’s Museum of Cricket, located just behind the pavilion at Lord’s. It was rather fitting for a legend of Shahid Afridi’s status to be seated among memorabilia from some of cricket’s greatest ever players. Afridi recognised how special it was to end his career and receive a guard of honour here at Lord’s:

that was great especially in the home of cricket… it was an honour for me… I am very happy that its happened in the home of cricket

Afridi went on to emphasise the history of the ground and later remarked “I am not going to forget this”. While Afridi may not forget this, it is clear that no cricket fan is going to forget Afridi’s flair and enigmatic approach on the field.

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