July 17, 2010

Brydon Coverdale and Nagraj Gollapudi on Pakistan and Australia in England 2010

'I am what I am'

Brydon Coverdale
Shahid Afridi announced he was quitting Test cricket after Pakistan's defeat, Pakistan v Australia, 1st Test, Lord's, July 16, 2010
Shahid Afridi walks back to the pavilion after slogging his fourth ball of Pakistan's second innings to deep midwicket: the moment he decided to call time on his Test career  © AFP
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A great thinker once said “I am what I am”. It might have been Descartes. Or maybe Popeye the Sailor Man. It could just have easily been Shahid Afridi. One match into his Test comeback, he realised he didn’t have the temperament for five-day cricket and promptly quit.

You’ve got to hand it to Afridi, the man knows how to entertain, whether it’s sinking his teeth into a cricket ball, whacking Shaun Tait back over his head for six or hammering 14 from his first five balls in Test cricket in four years.

Even in his retirement announcement, Afridi didn’t tone things down. For most Australian players, farewelling Test cricket is an emotional experience that more often than not brings a tear to the player’s eye. Not Afridi.

Here was a man who was retiring after one comeback game, having slogged his fourth ball in the second innings straight to the man at deep midwicket. He was the captain, he had to set an example for his junior colleagues on putting a price on one’s wicket.

The media were entitled to ask him some tough questions at his post-match press conference. To Afridi’s credit, he didn’t offer any half-baked excuses, he simply stated what everyone watching the game had already realised: he wasn’t a Test player.

Afridi was asked when he decided to retire. “When I got out,” he replied. Laughter rippled throughout the room, where Afridi was being grilled by a group of about 20 journalists.

Another reporter asked if he simply couldn’t stop himself trying to hit six off every ball. Smiling, Afridi agreed: “Yes, you are right.”

It was the ultimate mea culpa from a Test captain. He might as well have shrugged and said, “Yeah, I’m outta control! Can’t do nothin’ about it.”

And when he was asked if he could make more money by just playing Twenty20 and 50-over cricket, he replied, dismissively: “I’ve got enough money.”

So there. It was a refreshingly candid and good-humoured press conference, given the circumstances. Even in retirement, Afridi continues to entertain. Thank goodness he’s still going to play Twenty20. There he can be more Popeye than Descartes.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Warney 11 on (July 19, 2010, 10:13 GMT)

We all know how exciting player Afridi is..Surely he was the one who was cheered the most in the match..that is during his short innings of 31 of 15 balls..but did he help his teams cause in any way?? I doubt it..and the way he has deserted his team in the middle of the series is not wat pakistan team required..very dissappointing..and anyways, he wont be of much help in the one dayers as well..that time is going to come soon. Good luck to Afridi,may be he is just good enough for bowling his four overs in Twenty - twenty..

Posted by Syed Danish Saif on (July 18, 2010, 16:09 GMT)

Hellow every1 and AssalamoAlaikum... Well, well, well... Once again the PATHAN waCkeD out of the Stadium.. his thinking is pretty straight. when there is ball to be hit for a six no matter if that is a first ball of the match he will hit a six... BOOM BOOM u rockxx.... one of the fearless and exciting player in world cricket... we love u ............

Posted by Nadeem on (July 18, 2010, 15:08 GMT)

I have read most of the comments being made on Afridi's decision. He is sure a show stopper. U have to talk about him whether u like him or not. I have been hurt by the statement of Imran Khan. One should be responsible for his mistakes and should accept it honestly. I hope our board learns something from this. And Salman Butt should be backed up now. If we can control our nerves, we can beat Aussies in tests as well and that time is not far away.

Posted by Aslam on (July 18, 2010, 14:56 GMT)

He is honest. He saw his shortcomings for the longer version of the game and decided to quit. However, should he have accepted the captaincy for this version in the first place remains a valid question. I think Salaman Butt is a good choice but will he be persisted with when, as is likely, Pakistan suffer more set-backs remains to be seen. I hope he is.

Posted by Aslam on (July 18, 2010, 14:56 GMT)

He is honest. He saw his shortcomings for the longer version of the game and decided to quit. However, should he have accepted the captaincy for this version in the first place remains a valid question. I think Salaman Butt is a good choice but will he be persisted with when, as is likely, Pakistan suffer more set-backs remains to be seen. I hope he is.

Posted by raheem on (July 18, 2010, 13:11 GMT)

pathan r so emotional.we need him as a captain. he has the ability of playing long innings but he need some time.we need u come back to test cricket. for us u r the best.i think u were best plce in test was to open the innings.and then he will take responsibilty.1-salman2-shahid3-yasir hameed4-umar amin 5-umar akmal 6-shoaib malik 7-kamran 8-amir 9-umar gul 10-saeed ajmal 11-m.asif if he choose this team i don,t think australia can win from us. there is no need of kaneria in this alwaz taking 5 wickets but giving more then 150runs.not good fielder

Posted by Narayan G on (July 18, 2010, 12:44 GMT)

Man.... he may be a honest man... but a BAD cricketer. What has he achieved in cricket? That 36 ball 100? that was a fluky innings... it may never be achieved in cricket again. But with just that innings he as played for 10 years... Man ... he is probably the MOST over-rated player cricket has seen in its history.

Posted by jalil on (July 18, 2010, 12:28 GMT)

this one goes to afridi Pyarelal had taken his reluctant wife to a cricket match. She sat through the first innings although plainly bored cuz no one there to entertain, no bountries for quite alot time. In the second innings a batsman gave a tremendous swipe and knocked the ball out of the ground.

'Thank goodness' she sighed. her husband said to her 'lets go home this man gona knock every ball out of park' wife repiled 'pyarelal dont worry the entertainer in here to entertain me u go home i meet to they' the husband said 'to you know that we are indians and sporting india not pakistan' she repiled ' i know that but this batsmen is getting be entertained unlike the indians batsmens all they do defend or single and boundry in lasy over but this batsmen smacking every ball out of park' then she found out that he got out' she said to her husband ' come-on lets go home now' husband said 'y now' wife repiled ' without him they is no cricket'. boom boom afridi & keep entrtain

Posted by Ruhul Amin on (July 18, 2010, 12:03 GMT)

I think afridi made a very good decision. Now he will be able to more attentive in T20 & ODI match. Respect Afridi

Posted by Hassan Farooq on (July 18, 2010, 11:52 GMT)

It is great that he has quited test-matches, he wasn't a good captain in the format, he couldn't put pressure on new batsmen, he lacked in many things, he gave fast-bowlers 20 overs each, while Kaneria only 10 over, that's insane does he want to kill Mohammad Aamer he is only 18 years old and so tiny! He couldn't divide the bowlers into spells, and his batting style isn't for test-matches.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brydon Coverdale
Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.

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