Sahibzada Shahid Khan Afridi, or as cricket fans all over the world call him “boom boom” Afridi is the greatest One Day Internationals(ODI) and Twenty 20 (20/20) cricket player of all times. Shahid Khan Afridi, shot to fame when at the age of 16 years and a couple of months, he made the debut for Pakistan cricket team. In his first major One Day International tournament held in Nairobi, Kenya, he made a century(100 runs) in just 47 balls, and that score was made not against a minnow team, an International Cricket Council (ICC) affiliate nation, or an associate nation either but against Sri Lanka, a test playing nation. This record made in 1998, still holds today, and at present there is no cricketer in the world who is good enough to beat it.
He started his cricketing career as a leg spinner but on the sound advise of the senior players and the team management he was asked to pay more attention to his batting. Listening to their advise he worked on his batting skills and soon he was opening the innings for Pakistan. But, now towards the end of his cricketing career, he once again has has paying more attention to bowling his leg spin, and today,is considered as more of a bowling than a batting all-rounder.
It is a fact, that the prospects of Pakistan Cricket Team doing well in the Cricket World Cup 2015 surely rest on the broad shoulders of Sahibzada Shahid Khan Afridi. It is true, that since the last couple of years, his form and fitness have been nagging him, and because of his crucial position in the Pakistan cricket team line up, this has been the cause of major concern for his team mates, the management and the crowds.
But as sports fan we all know that form is transient but class is permanent. So, Shahid Khan Afridi, is bound to come good either with the bat or the ball and then the whole world will be celebrating with him. Because “boom, boom” Afridi, is not the favorite with the Pakistanis but with cricket lovers all over the world, not a mean feat, as we all all aware that no matter how extra-ordinary a player one is, if he in an opposing team, the fanatic crowds spare no chance of down playing his talent. But he is one of the few players, because of him being a great entertainer, that seldom he gets the flack from the pundits, commentators or the crowds.
Well aware, that the age is catching up with him, though, fully aware that all that he is today is because of cricket, “boom, boom” Afridi, has opened a chain of his menswear designer boutiques, in addition, he has also opened a chain of restaurants in all the major cities of Pakistan. As the Cricket World Cup 2015, most probably will be his last major tournament playing for Pakistan. In order to be at his prime for this prestigious tournament , “boom, boom” Afridi, has retired from test cricket and is only focusing on the shorter versions of the game, including the One Day Internationals and the Twenty 20, both at the national and the international level.
The whole nation will be rooting for “boom, boom” Afridi in the Cricket World Cup 2015 to be co-hosted by Australlia and New Zealand. “Boom, boom” Afridi, in countless interviews given to the national and the international media has promised not to disappoint the cricket lovers.
An Op-ed Written by: Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada