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September 27, 2007

New age

Afridi halts the shots

Kamran Abbasi
Shahid Afridi poses with the Player-of-the-Series trophy, India v Pakistan, ICC World Twenty20 final, Johannesburg, September 24, 2007
 © AFP
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I have always supported Shahid Afridi. His wild talent holds a mesmeric attraction. I have called for his inclusion in the Test team and his elevation to the one-day vice-captaincy. If harnessed, I have contended, Afridi could be a more consistent match-winner for Pakistan.

Nonetheless, he has as many critics as he has fans. For a while he threatened to confound his critics with a rare consistency with bat and ball. But something popped in Afridi's brain about 18 months ago and he has never recovered.

First Afridi "retired" from Test cricket, the weight of national expectation had become too burdensome. When he returned, he had developed a worrying reluctance to bat up the order, claiming the he was now focusing on his bowling. This focus has produced distinct improvement but his batting has declined. The reluctance to bat at the top remains, which is a worrying sign for a senior and experienced cricketer who should really be accepting greater responsibility.

Yes, Afridi was man of the tournament in the ICC World Twenty20 but his batting was a disappointment. Now Boom Boom has concluded he cannot fast and play cricket against South Africa. These are not the actions of the champion that his fans have believed him to be.

I, for one, am disappointed with Afridi. I worry that all of this betrays an underlying lack of confidence in his own ability or at least a lack of willingness to apply his mind in the way that the bigger challenges in international cricket require.

Unless Afridi regains his purpose, Pakistan must write him out of their Test script. He cannot command a place as a Test legspinner ahead of Danish Kaneria. Indeed, his real value in all forms of cricket is as an allrounder, and even if he sees himself as a bowling allrounder he must not ignore the fact that batting is an important element of his role. Concentrating on bowling is an insufficient excuse for an allrounder to neglect his batting.

Afridi, hero of millions, must rethink his approach. His descent down the batting order is alarming. His reluctance to play Test cricket is worrying. If he fears for his place he should fight for it. An Afridi batting cameo can turn a match but without that string to his bow he cannot pull on heartstrings. And without that string to his bow there is serious doubt over his longevity.

I hope Ramadan helps Afridi return with the determination to fulfill his proper role in Pakistan cricket. Don't halt the shots Shahid.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by M S Shaikh on (July 8, 2010, 5:04 GMT)

Some people are God gifted. I have seen in action many renown cricketers from the world over, like 3Ws, Sobber, Kanhai,Loyed, Richard and kali-charan. Barington,Boycot,Mankad, Mushtaq Ali,Pankaj Roy, Poly Umriger, Redpath, simson,and many others but never seen players like Shahid Afridi who is so strong to hit hard the ball that once it sart flow from his bat non can stop it. Like ballers if speed meter of shots speed is used i believe & bet that speed of Afridi shot is more than all time batsmen from all ove the world. Even Bradman, black bradman and Tandulakar have no powerful shots compared to Afridi.

Criticts is good thing but it should be healthy in the light of ground reality and not critic for critics sake...

Posted by Haiman Basher on (October 8, 2007, 7:58 GMT)

Afridi is concentrating on his bowling! Don't make me laugh.Next time he bowls a faster one, pls do have a closer look.Every now and he chucks a faster one. IMHO, he has always been another Chukhtar who was never caught...

Posted by Farewell to Great Inzi on (October 8, 2007, 4:50 GMT)

So after all these PCB walas have forced Inzi to retire. Pakistan will always miss great Inzi. The only good thing PCS has done in recent past is to make sure that Mohd Yousaf is back. They should also talk to Razzak as he is still the best all rounder in Pakistan. It is so easy to criticise talented keeper like Akaml but there is no one even close to him in domestic cricket. All the kids playing in under 19s or A teams are far behind Akmal. What a stupid analysis that one dropped catch from Akmal was the sole reason for Paksitan's defeat. That Danish Kaneria sucks bcoz he cant get any major batsman out on his own even after bowling 100 overs. Abdur Rehamn has shown him the way and it is about time to kick danish out of the team.

Posted by Calgary Highlander on (October 7, 2007, 21:20 GMT)

Afridi is still an effective cricketer. He can bowl and field consistently. I'd have him over Kaneria on my Test side any day simply because he, while not as good as Kaneria, can still bowl. His fielding is considerably better, (Have you seen Kaneria run?) and he still has a better chance at producing with the bat then Danish.

He's still an effective cricketer and, while he refuses to play to his full potential, his 70% isn't bad by any means.

Posted by yajuvender on (October 6, 2007, 19:24 GMT)

Javed Monttreal khan...you wrote.."fasting in Islam is not like abstaining from food only, it is much more than that. It also helps to train the body in surviving under extreme, harsh and adverse conditions "....Then I think afridi's home is in a desert & he cant afford the luxury life of on field cricket..how smart is that!!!

Posted by for LITTLE maharashtrun and OILY malabaran on (October 6, 2007, 15:11 GMT)

hey you spooky little maharashtrun and oily smelly malabarun you know nothing about cricket and u talk all bull chit and cow dung, u r all eternal loosers and cry babies --- javed khan is doing a gr8 job by putting u guys in ur own shitty slots that is where u belong, u can't match his wits so you guys are now showing ur true haldi colour just like your smelly patlees, at least he writes about cricket and also add funny bits to perk up this blog by adding some garam masala to spice up and ignite ur smelly backs & thats fun whereas you guys never write anything about cricket u simply splatter ur own gunk and dirt all over ur faces and mess it up on ur own feces ur posts are as ugly as ur looks just like ur heroes srisaanth and dhoni they are the height of yuckliness now australia is bashing india in india and all indians are crying like all india radio and blaming australia for using harsh words, ha ha ha how conveniently u all have forgotten how ur holi harbhajan was saying f - you f - you f - you to mj clarke after he clean bowled him in 20/20 semifinal and how uvraj sing was spitting f you f you f you after catching hussey? remember? now r u getting a taste of ur own medicine and running patlees in dhotees? stop cribbing and crying australia has already won 2-0 it cud've been 3-0 if ur rain bhagvan had not come to ur rescue and dont expect anything from ur tin-ten-tul-kar bagvan to do any miracles he is gone with the wind like a khas-ee bukra wait till it is 6-0, u r all pathetic loozers and jeepers and pakistan will come to india and whip u with another 5-0 before u go 2 australia and get ur baby elephant sekrewd there at the hands of the kangaroos ---- wot will u name the cross baby? kaleefant? pandoo rao **** jindabad.

Posted by Tariq on (October 6, 2007, 9:59 GMT)

Why single out Afridi? Pakistani team has another player who should be pointed out more frequently than any other person. Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal. He's the reason Pakistan lost against SA and many previous games. He's the worst keeping hands in today's cricket but still finds a place in Pakistan team. Its hard to believe that Pakistan is unable to produce a quality keeper in last few years provided its rich history of great keepers like Bari, Latif and Moin Khan. Boucher, Gilchrist, Dhoni and Sangakara are class acts while Kamran Akmal is extremely ordinary with gloves and has nothing to offer in batting. All above mentioned keepers are not only best keepers but also one of the best ODI/Test batsmen today in world cricket. So why pointing Afridi, what about Mr. Akmal?

Posted by Omer Admani on (October 6, 2007, 5:51 GMT)

Javed Khan, I am wondering whether this blog is about you or Afridi? ;) I just noticed the ridiculous amount of literature directed at you. The second question I wonder about is, how does this man know so much about Kamran Abbassi? In every post he says something informative about Kamran Abbassi like, 'And Kamran Abbassi, too, felt like ...'. Your comments on Biology remind me of a certain Biologist as well.

Posted by WASIM SAQIB on (October 6, 2007, 5:23 GMT)

I was not expecting such a disgusting performance on the final day, Pakistan gave away the match without any fight,Younis Khan who was on the attack through out his innings as soon as he completed his century went in a shell,Misbah also was extremely slow,the way the team batted on the final day it seemed they had no intention to win or save the match.Although Shoaib Malik is a new captain but as a player he is experienced enough to know that if he will adopt Inzi's way of leadership he will not survive more than couple of series.I hope that Kamran Akmal along with the openers will be dropped for the Lahore test.

Posted by Muhammad Asif on (October 6, 2007, 4:16 GMT)

If you are not prepared to digest the reaction of the people then just don't act that way. Justification can't turn a wrong into right but rectification can. Full Stop.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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