November 5, 2011

West Indies

The wild life of Shahid Afridi

Andrew Hughes
Lasith Malinga got Ricky Ponting for a duck, Sri Lanka v Australia, 4th ODI, R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, August 20, 2011
Lasith Malinga helps out at the macaroni and fusili pasta section of Colombo's gourmet stores  © AFP
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Wednesday, 2nd November Something strange is afoot. Back at the soggy end of September, Graeme Swann suggested that West Indies hadn’t bowled well enough to dismiss England for 88. And yet the scoreboard read, “England 88 all out”. Mysterious. And now history has repeated itself. “They hardly got us out,” said Bangladeshi captain Mushfiqur Rahim, after some bowlers or other had dismissed the Tigers for 278.

Every time West Indies roll into town, the home team suddenly and mysteriously begin losing wickets. What is going on? Is it a conspiracy? Have the men from the Caribbean finally managed to incorporate Klingon cloaking technology, making Marlon Samuels invisible to the naked eye? Or could it be that they’ve found a decent bowling attack and the rest of the world is being a little ungracious?

Thursday, 3rd November Give praise to the god of satire, for Afridi is back! His unconditional unretirement (slight return) means that the cricket world is approximately 10% more interesting in real terms. So how have you been keeping, Shahid?

"I am strong, fit and in good shape to cover the wild period I had lost during the time of retirement.”

Wild period? Sounds intriguing. Tell us more about this wild period. Did you grow dreads and journey across Outer Mongolia in a beat-up multicoloured camper van? Did you have a tattoo of a man eating a cricket ball with the legend “Lala likes leather for lunch” across your upper back? Did you spend some time in the jungles of Borneo, learning how the orangutan deals with the outswinger?

Oh, you played for Hampshire. Well, that’s pretty wild, I guess. But his return to the one-day squad was not a formality and as always, the Pakistan selection committee carefully weighed up the pros and cons in an objective and dispassionate manner.

“He is like a son to me,” said interim selector Mohammad Ilyas, “And his selection is not unfair.”

Friday, 4th November Colossal fiscal incompetence is everywhere it seems, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see cricket boards following the fashion for financial stupidity. Our old friends, SLC built a lot of grounds that they couldn’t afford to run and so, naturally enough, have handed them over to the military. I’m not entirely sure what the military would want with cricket stadiums, though if the SLPL ever happens, I guess Ravi could have fun spotting sponsored Abrams tanks and F16s rather than the accursed blimp.

But it isn’t just the stadiums that SLC are offloading. Many of the players are being handed over local businesses as the board can no longer afford to run them either. Kumar Sangakkara will be working for a Mrs De Silva of Market Street, Colombo, shouting out the prices at her fruit and vegetable stall; Mahela Jayawardene will be employed as a street sweeper by Galle District Council, tidying up the mess that others have left (similar to his current role) and Ajantha Mendis will be placed in storage at the Kandy Museum of Mystery, though may not be picked for every exhibition.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by Jyoti on (June 30, 2012, 5:10 GMT)

too expensive for the PCB, but that obatscle seems to have been overcome. English fans (as well as UK-based Aussies or Pakistan fans) can now look forward to Afridi vs Johnson and Gul vs Ponting at a ground near

Posted by Usama on (November 26, 2011, 22:47 GMT)

Ahahahahahaha I liked a lot that description of Srilankan Players job,Loved it

Posted by riz on (November 8, 2011, 19:20 GMT)

It was brilliant! Also, I think Sri Lankans got MIGs, not F-16, wonder what Ravi will feel about them.

Posted by Murad Wamiq on (November 6, 2011, 5:27 GMT)

Andrew you have a very close observation of jungles,isnt it so?. Shahid is a cricket player not a lawyer that he should know the game of words. furthermore, andrew leave these south asian players kindly have ur nice observations on english players too, u will also come to know about the primative relationship even. and they should also be highlighted in the light of ur great wisdom

Posted by Zee on (November 6, 2011, 5:26 GMT)

Andrew Hughes, your wild time is writing cricinfo articles. You shouldn't be talking.

Posted by Raj Dayal on (November 6, 2011, 5:02 GMT)

The debacle of he SLC and that of the Pakistan Board have very strong bearings on the snaring of young men to fix matches. In countrie outside the Indian Continent it is difficult to persuade crickters to deviate from honesty. Is this because those of a brown skin are inherently cheaters while others are models good behaviour? I put it to you that this is not the case. Most of the latter are well catered for by their boards withcontracts in the millions - this is without gains from sponsorship. In contrast others have a hand to mouth existence in terms of rewards playing cricket for their country. Wake up you Boards and jump on the bandwagon of money that is the norm in all sports from netbal to football.

Posted by Ameer on (November 6, 2011, 3:35 GMT)

Afridi's bit was a nice one........... liked the whole article though. Keep it up!

Posted by Bryan Slater on (November 6, 2011, 3:31 GMT)

the afridi part is 2 HILLAROUS...HAHAHA gud job, A Big UP to andrew hughes. Keep em coming.. "The Wild Life OF Afridi" HAHAHA.

Posted by Sai on (November 6, 2011, 3:31 GMT)

“Lala likes leather for lunch” ROFL.You may have upset some serious Afridi fans though, who even want him to play test cricket!

Posted by Zaid on (November 6, 2011, 3:10 GMT)

I took this pretty seriously i mean, when will the world realize that Windies have a pretty strong bowling lineup, and their batting is catching up, they may be a decent team in a few years.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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