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  1. #1
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    Goodbye, and thank you Shahid Afridi

    In his latest article for FirstPost, Saj explains why leading the ICC World XI at Lord's was a befitting way for the Pakistan legend to bow out of international cricket.


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    The history of Pakistan cricket has witnessed the emergence of many figures who have enjoyed cult following amongst its millions of supporters around the world. Whilst it was universally accepted that Imran Khan, by dint of his charisma and ability to lead the team through tough situations, has led the field when it comes to fan-following, Shahid Afridi’s status as someone who holds a special place in many Pakistani hearts is unquestionable as well.

    Thrust into the limelight at an early age when he became the fastest ODI centurion in a match against Sri Lanka in Kenya, where he scored 100 off just 37 balls, the his name was to become a byword for what many believed was pure aggression and which to some appeared to be an example of reckless enthusiasm. Regardless of how one viewed any Afridi innings, the result was always pure entertainment for millions of his fans and admirers, worldwide.

    His trademark wicket celebration was imitated by many but in the hearts of his fans, there was only one Shahid Afridi. When the well-known former Indian player and television commentator Ravi Shastri first coined the term ‘Boom Boom’ to describe the explosive style of Afridi’s batting and general approach to cricket, the Pathan from Karachi probably did not have an idea of how this name would stick to the Pakistan all-rounder for the rest of his playing career and beyond.

    There was no target big enough and no batsman bold enough to challenge Afridi in full flow. Like the troops in the Charge of the Light Brigade, Afridi’s objective seemed to be to charge head-long towards danger without fear of consequences. When he finally returned to the pavilion at Lord’s where he represented the ICC World XI against a West Indies side, his international record read 524 games in which he scored a massive 11,196 runs and took 541 wickets. All of these figures were attained during some memorable games; each one of which left the fans breathless or holding their heads in exasperation, but each performance left them asking for more from the master-entertainer.

    He may have been burdened by injuries and a drop in form towards the end of his international career, but like an ageing warrior egging himself on for that final moment of glory, Afridi donned his national colours as long as possible. He played his last international game for Pakistan in the ICC World T20 in 2016, but his love-affair for cricket did not die as he continued to take part in Twenty20 leagues around the globe.

    For a player of his stature it was indeed frustrating for him that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) could not offer a final goodbye match in front of his many fans. In fact, the closest he got to a farewell was a lap around the stadium in Lahore during the World XI’s visit to Pakistan in 2017 and a cash award which he promptly asked to be donated to charity.

    It was therefore befitting for a cricketer of his quality that he was given an opportunity by the ICC for what would be his final bow in front of international audiences when he was asked to captain the World XI team in their game against the Windies at Lord’s. This was the type of farewell that Afridi had hinted at towards his own board but failed to receive. The world of cricket was finally given an opportunity of acknowledging his immense services to the game.

    Harangued by a knee injury and having not played any cricket since March, when he last represented the Karachi Kings franchise in the PSL, Afridi pushed himself through the pain barrier one last time for a good cause after the World XI head coach Andy Flower convinced him to take on the reins of the team.

    The end of Afridi’s entertaining career could have been more spectacular had he reached the target of 100 T20I wickets but it was not to be as he ended with 98 international wickets in the twenty-over format. Boom Boom also failed to light up the London skies with those booming sixes that many of his die-hard supporters had come to watch, more in hope than in any real conviction. As he commented during the match, his body was no longer fit and able to take the strain of international cricket but the sheer power of his will to entertain and do good brought him to London.

    In the final analysis, the abiding memory of Afridi’s last international appearance was about his wicket, the guard of honour he received and his trademark celebration. He will be missed by the millions who adored his every move on the field and he leaves a unique legacy in Pakistan cricket of an entertainer whose brand of cricket appealed to most and frustrated many.

    Goodbye, and thank you Shahid Afridi.

    https://www.firstpost.com/firstcrick...t-4492129.html
    Last edited by Abdullah719; 2nd June 2018 at 00:35.


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  2. #2
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    Not been a great fan of Afridi but what I love about his cricket is his dedication for Pakistan and what he means to the millions of his fans.


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  3. #3
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    Sep 2017
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    Is this his final retirement?

  4. #4
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    Thank you for finally retiring

  5. #5
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    Some people will not appreciate your services, other people will appreciate you more than due. Whatever the case is, it is a fact that you are one in a million.

    The cricketing world may never see a man as crazy as Shahid.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2016
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    Thanks for all memories Lala. You could frustrate but when your entertained it was brilliant to watch. One of the great entertainers but sadly he played on too long and also played because of non cricketing reasons towards the end of his career.

  7. #7
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    I dont look at stats, i dont look at numbers, rather i look with my heart, a million may disagree and thats fine but shahid afridi to me is the GREATEST OF ALL TIME

  8. #8
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    I don’t think the game will see an entertainer like him. When he was in the mood, he was a treat to watch. Best of luck with your charity work, Lala.

    I met him in Lahore back in August 2013 and he was very nice and friendly. And that handshake is real.

  9. #9
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    No other country would have tolerated a hack like him for so many years. Goodbye Afridi.


    I been chasin and lacin tough guys for days
    Findin ways to erase em, and place em in the grave

  10. #10
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    One of most entertaining players to have ever play the game. Moments of brilliance mixed with moments of madness, he is the definition of Pakistan Cricket.

    The numbers will never tell the true story, one of those rare players that had the personality and presence to rock any opposition. A true legend, a Great of Pakistan Cricket!

    Thank you for everything, the memories, the hope and the passion you played with but most importantly thank you for the world t20 🏆

  11. #11
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    Nov 2015
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    Another guy who never fulfilled his potential,he was much more talented than the likes of Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal.With the bat he was mediocre for most of his career,except for some once-in-a-blue-moon performances.With the ball he was decent until 2014.

    I am not a big fan of him but he is the biggest entertainer in Pakistan cricket history.Not the best performer,but the biggest entertainer.

  12. #12
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    I always wonder what people's most memorable moment is of this man. And no I don't mean his best innings, his best bowling or his "best six". I mean where Afridi was the most Afridi, Afriding to the fullest.

    For me it's this gif which was hard to find, but lmao @ the blatant sponsorship wave. I remember laughing in the game live as well, and shows this guy really doesn't care, never needed approval, always did whatever he felt in the moment and I think people should infuse a teaspoon of that in their life. Too many people these days are too serious, thinking and overthinking logically all the time. Take a chance sometimes, live a little, act on your emotions.



    Ofc none of this has any bearing on his ability as a player which is another story.

    But seeing the title as his true last game... thoda emotional hogaya yaar

    Goodbye Lala
    Last edited by Suleiman; 2nd June 2018 at 02:18.

  13. #13
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    One of the most entertaining cricketer to have ever played the game.

  14. #14
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    Most stylish cricketer of all time.

  15. #15
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    When growing up I was a huge Afridi fan with Pakistan playing all over the world I would wake up no matter what the time to watch him play. Yes, he used to frustrate me a lot due to a silly shot or run out but balance that he gave me and all of his fans such a thrill that you’d only feel on a rollercoaster. He won us many many games and his commitment and his peak was full on displayed when we won the world t20. There had never been anyone like him and never will be. Lala thank you for everything

  16. #16
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    A man whose stats wouldn't do justice to his potential.

    But for me, LALA, you have been the most entertaining cricketer, which I have seen.

    Thanks LALA for the beautiful memories and sixes!

  17. #17
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    One of those players you can't judge via stats. Just a once in a lifetime player.

  18. #18
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    Was at the World XI game and here are few things I noticed

    1) Afridi still gets the biggest cheers from the crowd, regardless of how unfit he is or his age
    2) Indian fans have massive respect for him, one woman was saying she was in school when Afridi started his career, now she’s a mother and had so many different careers but Afridi is still playing and barely looks a day older than 20��
    3) England fans were quite bemused when he came out with a runner, but justified it with “Its Afridi, he does what he wants”
    4) Even though he was evidently well past it, people still leave the ground once he gets out
    5) Finally, not just a great entertainer but a brilliant ambassador of the game, played whilst injured and donated generously to the cause

    You may or may not like him as a cricketer, but I doubt Cricket will ever see an Entertainer like Shahid Afridi again! All the best with your retirement Sahibzada Mohammad Shahid “Boom Boom” Khan Afridi!

  19. #19
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    The only Pakistani player I used to put aside anything and everything to watch.

    When he slogged the hell out of Ashwin during the Asia Cup, a few seconds after the disappointment of losing to Pakistan had passed, I actually fell back in my chair laughing and clapping the only madman who could have done that.

    When he won Pak the 2009 WC, it eased the begrudging feeling that Pakistan were able to repeat what we had so spectacularly achieved just a couple years before.

    His political comments don't bother me and he will be remembered for the unadulterated joy, passion and insanity he epitomized.

    Thank You.

  20. #20
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  21. #21
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    Filled stadiums wherever he played cricket.

    Never was one for the establishment and played cricket by his rules.

    What a character.



  22. #22
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    What a ride it’s been! One thing is for sure he was never dull and lived by his own rules


    If pakistan cricket is to move forward they need to stop going back

  23. #23
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    Oh is he the KING of Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and Nottingham! good bye my friend, will never forget the thrilling euphoria as I watched you from the stands at Trent Bridge on that beautiful summers day


    Ah, so this is what it feels like

  24. #24
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    Cant wait till he comes to canada

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    Filled stadiums wherever he played cricket.

    Never was one for the establishment and played cricket by his rules.

    What a character.
    Yeah that element will be missed. I remember i would bunk school to watch Afridi live on TV, this was when he used to open in the 90’s. But i must say he has dissappointed far too many times, whether his below par performances or on the field or off the field behavior (as captain or player). But there will never be another Afridi.

  26. #26
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    It was always heart in the mouth stuff when he batted.

    You always knew that a crazy shot was never far away. Some days his batting clicked, most of the time it didn't



  27. #27
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    Jun 2018
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    Although all sports are very effective but I love cricket my passion, devotion, and all prayers for cricket and for the cricketer. Nice and great work with all respect including thinking imagination and content quality.
    Last edited by Abdullah719; 11th June 2018 at 07:47.

  28. #28
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    Oct 2004
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    The world of cricket seldom has too many personalities that polarize opinion. Personal records, win-loss ratios, averages, runs scored, wickets taken seems to be the yardstick when players are compared and their legacies judged. Bring in the concept of nationality, and a new metric comes into play when fans from different countries compare their heroes.




    But there are exceptions to the rule and over the years Shahid Khan Afridi has definitely been one of them. If you were to collate a group of Pakistan cricket fans in a room, sooner or later the topic would change to Shahid Afridi.

    Shahid Afridi’s introduction into the cricketing limelight came back in 1996 when rumoured to be 16 years of age an unsuspecting world came across a player of unusual hitting power as he lit-up the headlines with a swashbuckling 100 in just 37 balls in Nairobi, Kenya, against Sri Lanka, to become the then fastest ODI centurion. Yes, aggression had been talked about but the manner of the pulverization of the opposition bowlers was hitherto rarely heard of and would not be seen again until Corey Anderson in 2014 and then AB de Villiers in 2015 bettered Afridi’s incredible performance.

    In a bizarre way, the same record-breaking innings that earned Afridi a reputation for his style of no-nonsense batting regardless of the circumstances and match situation also became a problem for him. For Pakistan cricket fans at that point, Shahid Afridi was a revolutionary and a national treasure. His every innings for Pakistan was greeted with levels of interest deserved for a top-most celebrity. In fact, given the dearth of any true heroes in the public sphere in Pakistan, Shahid Afridi was possible the closest to the status of a superhuman in the eyes of many Pakistanis. However, expectations were such from Pakistani cricket-lovers that they wanted a Nairobi-style innings from Afridi every time he went out to bat.

    He feared no bowler when batting and he looked the best batsmen in the eye when he bowled. His trademark wicket-taking celebration was a sight to behold for his die-hard fans and whilst many did try and copy that style, none could replicate the aura that went along with the gesture. When the former Indian player and television commentator, Ravi Shastri gave the nickname ‘Boom Boom’ to describe the explosive nature of Shahid Afridi's batting and aspects of the cricketer’s unpredictable personality, he had no idea that the term would become a quality as well as an anathema for Afridi, for life.

    Wherever Shahid Afridi went and played cricket and regardless of the format, the crowds expected fireworks from ball one either with the bat or the ball. The disappointments, like successes, came thick and fast, there was no middle-ground with the hero to millions around the world. Shahid Afridi's career also contained some curious incidents which many simply put down to his personality. The ball-tampering incident in Australia 2010 where he was caught biting the ball by the television cameras was one such occasion where the enigma that Shahid Afridi was came to light. His explanation of merely ‘sniffing’ the ball may have seemed ridiculous, but it was all par for the course in the unpredictable world of Afridi. He was also involved in a decision to gouge a part of the pitch with his heel during a game against England in 2005.

    Slowly but surely as his performances started to dwindle, Shahid Afridi started to lose his undisputed hero status amongst the fans that previously adored him. Opinions on his role within the Pakistan team were starting to shift. To many, Afridi was a lone warrior fighting the establishment and established norms of cricket. His Pathan background was cited for his never-say-die attitude and the ability to fashion hope where none was possible. To others, he was a maverick whose reckless aggression was harming Pakistan cricket. Afridi’s penchant to score quick runs off a few deliveries followed by a walk back to the pavilion was not appreciated by all fans. To many, from a player of promise, Shahid Afridi had now become a cause of concern.

    Despite the differences of opinion about Afridi, there was one aspect of his presence that all agreed upon. He was a player who had the uncanny ability to fill stadiums wherever he went. His walk to the batting crease was followed with a rising crescendo of ‘Boom Boom Afridi’ and the crowd would break into frenzy when even a mishit would go for a six. But, equally spectacular would be the pin-drop silence after he would make his way back to the pavilion when dismissed. To many it was all about Afridi, when he was out, it was time to head for the stadium exit and think about his next innings.

    Shahid Afridi’s record of 524 international games in which he scored 11,196 runs and took 541 wickets is not one to be scoffed at. It clearly indicates that his presence in the Pakistan team clearly had the effect most of the time that was needed. But consistency, the magic word in most coaches and selectors books was one that went missing somewhere during his many years of service for his country.

    At times, a magician with the bat and ball and a personality that could inspire a blockbuster, Shahid Afridi has been the ultimate fan- favourite for many years. He last played an international game for Pakistan in 2016 but being a marketing man’s dream, his presence was a must in many Twenty20 leagues around the world including Pakistan’s own PSL.

    Although he played his final international game during the recently concluded hurricane relief Twenty20 match at Lord’s between the World XI and the Windies, the world of cricket may still be lucky enough to see a few more years from a master-entertainer and one who made his fans smile, dance, cry and tear their hair out in equal measure. How the masses will remember Shahid Afridi the cricketer is open to question, but one thing is for certain, whatever he did during his cricket career, he did it his way.

    Published in TCP


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  29. #29
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    He is a cricketer who will always have a special place in the hearts of most Pakistani crcket lovers.

    He made us shake our heads in disbelief at times, on other occasions he made us just gasp in awe at his batting/bowling.



  30. #30
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    Dec 2004
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    Thank you for all the memories. Cricket has never seen the like nor is ever likely to. Truly unique.


    "Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong. These are the ones to attain felicity." al-Qur'an 3:104

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