Corey Anderson may have broken Afridi’s record, but he can’t break our spirits!
On October 4, 1996, a record was made by one of our very own. Shahid Khan Afridi, who started his career in cricket 17 years ago, made the fastest century record in his second ODI against Sri Lanka. He scored 102 of 37 balls which was the fastest century in an ODI. Afridi has an aggressive batting style as he loves hitting his famous sixes on every ball and has smashed more than 400 sixes in all formats of the game.
Now, after 17 years, this record was recently broken by New Zealand’s all-rounder Corey Anderson against the West Indies in just 36 balls. I’m sure we were all shocked because the people of Pakistan love Afridi, regardless of when we curse him when he doesn’t bring his best foot forward; we are deeply proud of his record-breaking achievement.
Even though Afridi admitted the fact that his record was broken by Anderson and praised him, he expected his record to be broken by someone like Chris Gayle or David Warner; considering their reputation for smashing balls out of the park. He further added that even though he had never heard of the man who broke his record, he believes that someone from the Pakistan cricket team will bring the title back home.
People from all over Pakistan tweeted and shared their love for Boom Boom and believe that Afridi will be the one to win back the title. Afridi never loses hope and fights till the end because he plays from his heart.
I can proudly say that I am Afridi’s biggest fan, on and off the field. I refuse to watch a match in which Afridi isn’t on the field simply because he is a man with a champion’s heart and experience. Some might disagree but Afridi is a good bowler. His aggressive bowling technique picks wickets in early spells and has ended up saving our team many times.
In school, we used to have essay writing competitions and when the topic I received was ‘My favourite personality’ I knew exactly who I was going to write about. Many of the other students wrote on great personalities like Jinnah, Allama Iqbal, Imran Khan, Benazir and the likes, I believed (and still do) that Shahid Afridi was no less a hero than those great legends, and so I wrote my piece on him.
I’ve come across many people in my life who criticise Afridi on his playing style. I’ve heard statements like,
“Pathans don’t know how to think and strategise to win matches”,
“He needs to understand that he can’t get a boundary on every ball”
“What a waste in bowling”
What irks me is how quickly we forget that this same Pathan, with all his unstrategised bowling and batting, has won for us many times. We lifted the T20 World Cup in 2009 all because of Afridi’s batting capabilities. We were able to reach the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup because of Afridi’s bowling; he took 21 wickets. Unfortunately, when the player is at a low, we just add to his misery by discouraging him even further from standing tall again. We forget all that he has done and accomplished for us.
His true fans still love and support him, through thick and thin, and I believe that is what gives Afridi his boom back. He lives in the hearts of millions of people. Afridi’s record of the fastest century lasted 6,298 days. That is not a small number of days; let’s see how long Anderson keeps it.
One cannot put limits on record-making or breaking. When you beat someone else’s score, you have made a record and achieved something that no one has done before. And when there’s so much competition present amongst players, records are broken and will continue to break in the future too. Let’s hope they are all as worth witnessing as Afridi’s was.
Nonetheless, I congratulate Anderson on his fastest century; it was not an easy feat. But a word of caution, Afridi’s prediction might just come true… Pakistan has a lot of hidden talent and we are very possessive about our records.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.