World Cup 2011 March 21, 2011

Storm in an idiot cup

Pakistan end Australia's unbeaten World Cup record and Shahid Afridi, the winning captain, is an idiot? Excuse me, is that news?

Pakistan end Australia's unbeaten World Cup record and Shahid Afridi, the winning captain, is an idiot? Excuse me, is that news? Afridi's stupidity is well documented. This is ball-biting pitch-dancing cow-cornering Shahid Afridi we are discussing, isn't it?

Ever since his debut in 1996, Afridi's batting performances have been desperate attempts to suppress the madness of King Shahid. This mental anguish is mostly futile but invariably compulsive viewing. That's why cricket fans around the world love Afridi, whatever Ian Chappell has to say about his irresponsibility or his self-obsessed starman celebration.

Pakistan might crash against West Indies, and then Chappell can reprise his words around the globe and into a billion homes, but that will not change three salient facts.

Afridi took on the Pakistan one-day captaincy at a time of deep crisis and limited alternatives. He galvanised the players into unexpected contenders for this year's World Cup. Nothing 'idiotic' or 'frenetic' about that, rather something to be applauded.

Secondly, his starman celebration predates his captaincy. It is both inspirational and, lest we forget why we watch in the first place, it is fun. As far as I can remember, bowlers have always taken 'the glory' when they have taken a wicket--Afridi has become an exceptional one-day bowler, the leading wicket-taker in the tournament no less.

Finally, Pakistan under the captaincy of 'idiot' Afridi managed what no other team captained by various unfrenetic non-idiots has managed for over a decade: they beat Australia in a World Cup match. If it takes a touch of madness to pull off such a result then, as you'd expect, I'm with the idiots every time.

Indeed, a more troublesome issue for Australia is that your World Cup campaign must be in genuine danger if you are walloped by a team led by an idiot? Alternatively, use of such phraseology by your country's most prominent commentator is a frenetic case of sour grapes of idiotic proportions and should immediately be replaced by the incisive analysis he is reputed for.

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

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