Eminent scholars around the world, base their stories about Pakistan on unsubstantiated claims; this is not only true in case of Pakistani politics, but cricket also. I would unequivocally say that, so-called cricket pundits are hell-bent upon castigating Afridi for anything untoward that happens in cricket. During Misbah epoch as skipper, Afridi was deemed as the culprit for instigating Anti-Misbahism and when, Hafeez was given the coveted appointment, these trolls were casting aspersions on his espousal. They never believed in Afridi’s open support for Misbah or Hafeez, for that matter. This piece would delve on the fact that, Shahid Afridi is not involved in gimmicks; all aspersions are nothing, but hogwash. We don’t need to be anti-Misbah to be pro-Afridi.
Shahid Afridi came out of retirement during the tenure of Misbah; he came back in a team, which was led and developed by him in most grievous milieu. The series against Srilanka, happened to be his comeback series; he took 13 wickets and scored 123 runs, which earned him the much yearned for Man of the series award; one should not forget 20th November, 2011 when he scored 75 and got 5 wickets to grapple a victory for “Team Misbah. In the one-off T20, Afridi’s cameo helped us cross the line.
After that, Afridi travelled to Bangladesh with the entourage of Misbah. Afridi’s 7th 5 wicket haul and 24 with the bat helped us circumvent ignominy in the first ODI. The talismanic cricketer scored 42 in the next game to propel the team’s total. The series yielded 72 runs and 5 wickets for him, to include one MOTM.
Next, Pakistan had to face the war-torn Afghanistan; the team was full of gumption and optimism. They took our bowlers to the cleaners, virtually, but it was Afridi who mesmerised his ethnic fellows by grabbing 5 wickets. I am pretty much sure that, had it not been for his brilliance, the virulent pashtuns would have beaten us.
Despite all the aforementioned performances, a slight dip in his form in the England series, where he could only muster 106 runs and 3 wickets, the guns were turned at him. Although, he could have taken many more wickets, had the field placing not been grotesque. Certain journalists were writing concocted stories against him, but all in vain, for he flaunted a decent performance in the Asia Cup final; thus, contributing to Pakistan’s victory.
All in all, Afridi scored 335 runs and took 29 wickets in 15 matches under the incumbent ODI skipper, Misbah-Ul-Haq; in the t20’s, he scored 65 runs and took 3 wickets. Rebuking him for playing politics is absolutely claptrap.
Professor’s debut as skipper was shocking for the Green brigade and Afridi; his poor, yet necessary shot was lambasted by everybody as if they are maestros themselves. Chants of politicking reverberated. However, the trolls were left in a huff as just hours ago; Afridi swash buckled 52 and took 2 wickets to win the game for Pakistan. He glossed Hafeez’s scratchy/dismal show. Whre does politics figure in?
I request the erudite to come up with concrete evidence against Afridi; upon failure they should stay put and support him in thick in thin. His performances gives vent to the fact that he is a cricketer , not a politicians.