ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's under-fire captain Shahid Afridi on Wednesday issued a video message to supporters apologising for his team's early exit from the World Twenty20, but remained silent on his future following calls for him to retire.
Afridi , nicknamed "Boom Boom" for his fierce hitting, has suffered a drop in form over the past two years and he was unable to steer Pakistan through the group stages of the tournament in India. The 36-year-old has been expected to make an announcement on his future this week, but instead he took to Facebook and Twitter to issue a one-minute apology to the cricket-mad country.
Pointing to the star on his Pakistan jersey, he said: "For this star, and these colours, when I come to a ground, I carry the weight of my people's hopes with me. "Today, I, Shahid Afridi , apologise to the whole nation for not being able to fulfil the hopes of myself and my team."
The 2009 champions have been widely criticised by fans for a lacklustre performance at the World T20 with just one victory, against unfancied Bangladesh, and big losses to India, New Zealand and Australia.
Like Afridi , head coach Waqar Younis is also under intense scrutiny and he offered to resign while offering his own apology at a press conference on Tuesday. Afridi 's video met with a mostly positive response by fans posting on his Facebook page. "Great cricketer Boom boom Afridi ..i am Indian ..but I like afridi as sportsman..come on guys support them be with ur team," said user Narayan Kawade.
Afridi has been a fan favourite since he burst on the scene in 1996, striking a 37-ball century against Sri Lanka in only his second match to set a world record that was unbeaten for 17 years. He became known as a bowling all-rounder in the second half of his career and was instrumental in Pakistan's early successes in Twenty20, including their 2009 victory.