By Shashi Agarwal
Shahid Afridi has silenced all his critics, thanks to 2 match winning performances against India and Bangladesh which has led Pakistan to book a berth in the finals along with SriLanka.So the trend for Afridi has been that either he is too cold or too hot with his performance.He has gone through several lean phases in his career and out of the blues, he comes with some magical ones.The consistency has been missing in his career and his relations with the PCB is world known.Even the former players don’t miss a chance of getting into it and have been accusing him of not learning from his own mistakes and throwing his wicket.And adding to all , his poor shot selection are related to him being a Pathan,something to take with the image of Pathans among the people.This has led him to retire several times from International cricket and come with a bang again.Pakistan has been raising fingers on India that they don’t know how to respect talents, but in this case it is they who are under the hammer.
Afridi started his career as a bowler but after his fastest ODI century,he soon transformed into an all rounder.He was sent to open the innings and that was were he was most dangerous.He could take the game away from the opposition within the powerplay itself.He had the license to go after the bowlers and his failures were accepted .But as time passed, Pakistan’s batting problems increased and it needed experienced Afridi to make some serious contribution.His trademark hoick which led him to lose his wickets were considered unnecessary and he was taken to task for that.
But now when he has come back to form, everyone is praising him and his abilities.The one who stands out is Wasim Akram who was furious with him the other day when he threw his wicket against Afghanistan but stood to praise him against India and Bangladesh.To Afridi’s credit , he could not have timed this better.With Asia Cup final and the T20 World Cup coming up, he will definetely boost Pakistan’s chances.His bowling in the limited overs has never been questioned and it is what has given him a permanent place in the 11.His is very hard to get away and finishes his overs very quickly, giving the batsman very less time to think on.In the T20 Internationals, he is the third highest wicket taker, only behind his team mates Gul and Ajmal.His exploits in the T20 can easily change the while complexion of the game.When on song, he can be impossible to stop.
Afridi is a serious talent and everyone should understand his limitations.He is not someone who is technically very sound, but very effective.He should be left to play his natural game, no matter whatever the results come.International cricket is all about confidence and he needs the backing of the team management.Probably , he should be used at the top order, a position where he has had most of his success.He is bound to have failures , the way he bats but on his day he can win the game alone.
..I am sure this Pakistani legend deserves a much better treatment than what he has been getting from the PCB,former players and the fans.