October 22, 2012

Pakistan cricket

Why Afridi continues to play

There have been calls for Shahid Afridi to retire after his dramatic dip in form with both bat and ball over the last year. His supporters claim that he is the best thing since the helmet grill, while his critics blame him for keeping out better players from the side. There's a middle ground to the Afridi debate that's hard to establish, and he continues to play because he has fans who back him to the hilt, writes Hassan Cheema in Dawn.

A lot of great - and not that great - sportsmen overestimate their abilities once their bodies begin to creak and their reflexes begin to slow. But the fans have no need to be slaves to the delusions of an ego. It is unreasonable to expect him to succeed with his record and ability being so apparently flawed. But that doesn't mean that he should be forced to retire. If we were to consider him purely a bowler, there is a pretty strong case for him being part of the national squad. Perhaps the worst - and the best - thing to happen to Afridi in his career was THAT century in Nairobi.

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