His cricket stats show he is a spinner but he could easily be accommodated among ‘bowling all-rounders’, and yet ‘Boom Boom’ Shahid Afridi is known and will be known for his batting exploits to his fans.
With unmatched strike rate, Afridi holds the record of scoring highest number of sixes with 345 sixes..!
But ten years from now, the next generation of cricket pundits may ask why he has played so many matches (391 ODIs) with lowly stats with an obvious sarcasm at ‘star-obsessed’ nation.
Although he holds a low stats but it couldn’t be denied that many times cricket spectators have thronged to the stadium with placards only for “Boom Boom” Afridi and many times the stadiums were soon emptied after Afridi got out playing a rash shot.
Afridi, as he did last year in Asia Cup, could perform when it is needed most. So, only stats do not justify and shadow his cricketing feats.
However, from the World Cup in 1999 to the last edition in 2011, Afridi, who has played 20 World Cup matches, has scored a paltry total of 209 runs in 18 innings at an average of 11.61. The highest score he managed was 37.
But as bowler he has impressive records. He bowled in 17 innings and captured 28 wickets with an impressive average of 19.60. He twice captured five-for but that came against minnows Kenya and Canada in last edition of the cricket extravaganza.
Afridi, who led Pakistan in World Cup 2011, was highest wicket taker with 21 wickets along with India bowler Zaheer Khan. The team reached semifinals, only to be beaten by eventual World Cup winners India in pre-finals.
Afridi will play his fifth and final World Cup, with the first match to be played against traditional rival India on February 15. Afridi and Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene will be the two most senior players to be featuring in the World Cups for the fifth time.
Expectations are high from Afridi that along with bowling, he must do something better with bat this time and give a series of sensational performances and boost the morale of the team. Same goes with experienced players Misbah-ul-Haq and Younus Khan.
With all injury problems to players and suspensions the nation is clinging to one hope… That is ‘Afridi’ is still with the team. On his day he could change the course of the match… both ways!
He has already announced his retirement plans and would retire after World Cup. This is now the time that Afridi go all out to deliver the team at the biggest cricket stage set in Australia and New Zealand and set an example for future generations that ‘Legend of Afridi’ was true!