It is out of sheer impulsiveness that Shahid Afridi wields the willow so wildly right from the moment he steps on to the crease. He aims for a six every ball, a mere four, if he gets it, seems to frustrate him. No wonder his early demise is a foregone conclusion. He is no magician with the ball either and rarely causes any real anxiety to the batsmen. True, unlike most of his teammates, he fields well but this cricketing ability alone cannot be his saviour now. Shoaib Akhtar's body is also no longer up to the rigours of quick bowling and more often than not, he breaks down after a burst of only a few initial overs. Shoaib limping back dejectedly to the dressing room in the middle of his first spell is now a familiar sight. And even if he returns at all at some later stage of the match, he looks visibly unfit and pretty innocuous when he is given the charge of bowling again. These two gifted players who have served the country well in the past have somehow squandered away their opportunities in recent times. It's time, therefore, that they are retired gracefully to make room for other young and promising players whose infusion is so essential for the resurgence of our cricket. For this, the selectors will have to shun their 'blue eyed boy' syndrome and do honest selection of the best of the lot they have. Needless to say, they also have to ensure that the selected players are disciplined and have no fitness problems. -FAROOQ ZAMAN, Lahore, February 04.