A standing ovation for Afridi!

Published: November 21, 2011

Taking five wickets and scoring 75 on the bat, Afridi was the man to watch. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Pakistan cricket team celebrates after beating Sri Lanka in the fourth ODI at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on November 20th. PHOTO: AFP Shahid Afridi takes a catch to dismiss Sekkugge Prasanna during the fourth ODI at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. PHOTO: AFP Taking five wickets and scoring 75 on the bat, Afridi was the man to watch. PHOTO: REUTERS

Who would have believed that Pakistan would reach 200 when they were 97 for 6? Who could have guessed that Pakistan would win when Sangakara and Jaywardena were cruising along at 155 for 3? As heads dropped in dismay, one man could hear the call of destiny.

When Shahid Afridi walked on to the field Pakistan was in trouble and it seemed they wouldn’t even make 150. Less aggressive than usual, but he still lit up the stadium with three hits out of the park. His 75 was the highest score of Pakistan’s innings and as it turned out, it was the highest score of the match. It was also the fastest with Afridi scoring at more than one run per ball.

Because of his efforts Pakistan set the Sri Lankans a target of 201. It looked a little, though, with the two maestros of the Sri Lankan batting making a brace of 50s. But, again it was Afridi who put up his hand and provided the breakthroughs. Both Sangakara and Jaywardena perished to Afridi as he took five wickets, and became in the process, the first person to score a fifty and take five wickets twice.

The Sharjah crowd had waited eight years to see Team Green play an ODI and was treated to watching Afridi take five wickets.

It was only fair that the match finished with the last wicket falling to Afridi as Pererra was caught at the boundary. Pakistan had won an unforgettable match.

This brought back memories of another match played at the same stadium some 12 years ago between the same two teams.  Then also Pakistan’s batting had struggled and we had barely been able to make 196. The match looked lost for all purposes but one man thought otherwise. Abdul Razzaq took four wickets (five in total) in a spell of swing bowling that left everyone mesmerized and blew away the Sri Lankan batting order to leave the match tied.

This time round Razzaq was watching from the pavilion. as he had been dropped for the match, but Afridi took over and the result was almost the same. While that match was tied but this one went in favour of Pakistan. In both instances, I was glued to the television screen.

After the match Afridi said that he had a point to prove:

“Actions speak louder than words. There were a lot of challenges and there were a lot things that I had to prove wrong.”

Afridi did prove one thing as he single handedly sealed the series for Pakistan. He proved that where there is a will, there is a way! It was a once in a lifetime performance but I do hope we see more such performances by Afridi and Team Green.

Dr Amyn Malyk

Dr Amyn Malik

The author is a PhD student at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. He is a former Fulbright Scholar who likes to write. He tweets as @amynmalik

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • THE

    Afridi is the MAN! BOOM BOOM all the way! I am sooo glad that so many people supported him in Ijaz Butt’s time- those were the hard times for Afridi.
    He is just an epic performer all around.Recommend

  • Tribune Reader

    Hats of to Boom Boom Afridi for an outstanding performance, i remember the game where Razzaq changed the equation also, similiar scenario, Srl were 154/2 to 196 all out. i think the team management is being a tad bit unfair to Razzaq, their notmproperly utilising him, and dropping him on the basis of performance, marginalising an all rounder of razzaqs calibre is unfair, he was pooorly under utilised in the world cup also and then dropped. Shoaib Malik should be benched, he has been given enough chances for a come back.Recommend

  • Speech

    Here we go again, another Afridi fanboy. Didn’t see you write when Farhat, Gul, Younus or Akmal were winning us matches. Afridi may be a match-winner(debateable) but his attitude towards the team and other players needs improvement.Recommend

  • Uzair

    Afridi for PRESIDENT. Hu Ha Hu Ha!Recommend

  • http://www.gmail.com Sherls

    Afridi! He stands between the unpredictable and impossible! Hell yeah!Recommend

  • Salman

    Dude, why are you so obsessed with Afridi? He didn’t play well when it was needed the most: In the semi-final against India in the World Cup. That was the time when he could have proven his worth. An ODI against Sri Lanka in Sharjah is meaningless.

    Stop praising individuals. That is why Afridi is so full of himself. Institutions should be made stronger, not individuals. Afridi may perform very well for the next 5 year maybe. But what after that? Cricket is a team sport. In the last match Hafeez played brilliantly. Did you write anything about him? No. That’s because you are just awed by the immature personality of Afridi. That’s it.Recommend

  • Rizvi

    Oh come on. When Afridi performs and poses as a star-man, all the team members get energy. He is the heart of the Team, and whenever he beats, Pakistan teams goes Boom Boom. He is at the peak of his career now. Can play for 5 more years easily and will be a force to reckon !Recommend

  • rak

    its not debateable he is a match winner he is our best fielder the only one who can actually hit the stumps batting unpredictable but he nearly always performs with the ball hence why he is in the top ten all time odi wickettakers i used to watch him for his battin but I prefer watching him bowl now because he is a much better bowler than batsmen and maybe our best bowler and his team mates certainly dont have a problem with him you would know this if you watched the games and he just hated ijaz butt hopefully his batting wlil continue like this but i reckon by the time he retires he will have got over 400 odi wicketsRecommend

  • Afridi’s Angel

    Shahid Afridi’s months of hard work, dedication, effort, and training has proved fruitful – Way to Go Boom Boom! Keep up the excellent work! :) Your fans will always love you and stand by your side no matter what you go through–we have seen you go thru hard times and now it is so great to see you in happy times! :)Recommend

  • ashok sai

    Pity, the way its going, there will an article praising Afridi if had bowled a maiden over or hit a six or even if carries something to the field when he was there as a substitute. Please don’t overdo things.Recommend

  • Syed Sami

    @ashok sai:

    I guess you din’t see the match. It was nothing usual and common. It was a ver determined performance and clinched victory from the jaws of defeat.

    @ Salman:

    And to all the people getting jealous of Afridi. Instead of writing critical comments for no reason. They should have wrote a blog on the performance of Younis, Misbah and Hafeez instead of crying out loud for no reason.

    Yes I agree that the flare of Afridi can make even minor things look very important, but then again, Allah has blessed him alot and when He decides to make someone feel important there is no one in this universe that can do otherwise!!! Recommend

  • Syed Sami

    Did you just suggest that till the time this intitution is not made stronger, we should stop praising the efforts of indivisuals? You are blaming this indivisual for the poor performance in the semi finals while on the other side you are saying stop praising individuals. Its you who need to understand first that cricket is a game of team effort and not indivisual brilliance, but if someone is standing up to the occasion and lifting the moral of the team, he should be appreciated. No one here is saying he is an angel and cannot go wrong.

    Be critical where it is needed!!Recommend

  • Salman

    @Syed Sami: Look at you going all angry at even the slightest criticism against Afridi. Afridi is flawed just like any other player. I am not a writer, that is why I don’t write blogs. But I’ll use this space to commend the efforts of other team players too. They are as much a part of the team as Afridi. Hafeez, Younus, Misbah, Ajmal have performed really well in the previous matches and they should be appreciated. Afridi is a guy who is so full of himself and let that be kept in mind that I am NOT an Afridi hater. He just hasn’t clicked when we needed him the most.Recommend

  • Salman

    @Syed Sami: I never said to not praise him. But it is with the efforts of people like this blog writer, that Afridi is so full of himself. Just look up the interview on YouTube in which he says ridiculous things on a private TV channel regarding India, Indians and Pakistanis..

    Before he resigned from international cricket, he was a very good icon for the youth. But after that what he did was pathetic and selfish. As soon as the new chairman was appointed, he ran to the PCB office and pleaded for his return to the team. This guy lacks integrity. Retirement is no joke brother. Players should should show some maturity and integrity when handling these issues. But what am I talking about? The whole of the Pakistani nation lacks integrity and that’s why their hero is also someone who is like them.Recommend

  • Diddy

    Afridi is really talented and at times is a match-winner,but I don’t like his immaturity and stupidity and sometimes he can be really arrogant and egocentric a lot like LeBron James and Jose Morinho.Recommend

  • khan

    @Salman: Did you watch the match? Afridi single-handedly turned around the match and won it for us! Afridi deserves all the accolades that we shower on him. And as far as him coming across as arrogant? So what, have you seen all the other sportsman in the world.. World renowned and my friend those are what you call arrogant, not Afridi. Afridi, brings excitement and flair in to the game, which probably no other Pakistani player brings, maybe UAkmal. Be proud that this man is the way he is.

    InshAllah Afridi’s lucky streak and hard work will go along wayRecommend

  • Salman

    @khan: Dude, first completely read what I have written, then comment on it. Recommend

  • Salman

    And why is the author of this blog, Amyn Malik, not responding to the questions posed here? He has written a very immature blog. He should have the guts to at least to respond to the comments.Recommend

  • Maneeha Aftab

    Where there is a will there’s a way and where there’s a way there’s Afridi!!! :)Recommend

  • Dr. Amyn Malik


    I was not responding to your comments because they don’t merit a response. Talk about facts dude. First man to score a fifty and take 5 wickets in an innings twice. Not even great allrounders like Kallis, Imran Khan and Chris Cairns, to name a few, have done this. Only 3 players have scored more and taken five wickets in an innings.

    He is the owner of the fastest century in ODIs (actually owner of 3 of 7 fastest hundreds in ODIs). Has over 300 wickets in the format and was a successful captain who backed players. He was the joint highest wicket-taker at the 2011 World Cup and led from the front.

    Hafeez did play brilliantly in the match you are talking about but his impact on the match wasn’t as great. Actually, compared to Afridi’s impact on this match, it was minuscule.

    You want to talk about integrity? Well even Mazher Majeed, the notrious bookie, admitted that Afridi couldn’t be turned around. What more do you want? That is what a youth icon is supposed to be like.

    I am not saying he doesn’t have his faults. He has been censured in the past for biting a ball and made some ill conceived remarks about Pak-Ind relationships. But he is an impact player and should be respected for that.

    As for past performances, read my other blogs and you would see that I have always appreciated Team Green and performing players.Recommend

  • Yasir Mehmood

    Performances of Afridi before 2007 were absolutely crap I dont know how he survived through all those years. The author can also highlight countless fixtures where Afridi’s craziness costed Pakistan where he used to loop the ball in the air to give catches. There is know doubt in Afridi’s abilities but I dont know why he seems to not use his brain when he bats as compared to when he bowls. He only bats well when either he wants to become a captain or his captaincy is under a threat.Recommend

  • Aswad

    Some one please talk about CAPTAIN SLOW…Whyy whyyyyyy He wants to play 50 overs without Even scoring …I bet in few more games Even ajmal will have better Strike rate then Our CAPTAIN SLow [Misbah] :PRecommend

  • rizvi

    Forget what Afridi was before 2007. Now he is the backbone of the team. He is full of energy on the field, one of the best ODI bowlers right now. And if he scores above 20/30 that is an added advantage. So no arguments.Recommend

  • abu yusuf

    Make afridi captain again as his hands are clean.Recommend

  • Saad


    And what makes you so upset about the article, you are free to write so about other players too. I don’t say that others dont contribute, but i haven’t seen similar flow of energy through team. Though every win is important, but somehow people remember those wins which were contributed by Wasim, Miandad, Aktar, Afridi and there is a list full of such people. So its not about just winning. There is much more than that to win people’s heart…and Afridi does in every win he is involved within…Recommend

  • Imtiaz Ahmad

    No doubt Afridi is match winner and a clean cricketer.He is very honest about his game and a great fighter..He has great qualities to becoming the leader of the team. Recommend