Afridi bites back
Shahid Afridi left his mark on Pakistan's final 50 overs match in Australia - and on the cricket ball. First, he demonstrated how he could galvanise this Pakistan team into a fighting unit again. For the first time in weeks, Pakistan's players relished the fight and played with some belief. Afridi was at the heart of this, and his colleagues looked to be behind him.
But then we saw the daft side of Afridi, his ill-disguised bite of the cricket ball, a white and rather scruffy cherry. Pakistan were in with a shout, Afridi leading impressively, but he never looked the same after his appetite got the better of him and he was reprimand by the umpires. Afridi can expect a lengthy ban, which is ill-timed as he was about to offer a solution to Pakistan's captaincy problems.
He isn't the first international captain, of course, to tamper with the ball. Mike Atherton, for example, was relatively unscathed after his 'dirt in the pocket' incident. And you would judge Atherton to be more cerebral than Afridi by many tens of kilometers per hour.
Afridi's biting action was a disgrace but his captaincy style better suited Pakistan. He should take the ban, and learn a final sobering lesson. Desire to win should not be confused with winning at all costs. Once the dust has settled, Afridi should take up the captaincy. The question is what to do in the interim? Mohammad Yousuf is not the answer. The best solution would be a brief return for Younis Khan.
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Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here