Who might have imagined that a player who had been picked as a leg-spinner would go ahead to become one of the most destructive batsmen of this period? Astonishing as it might appear, he was inducted into the Pakistan team as a leg-spinner, as a substitution for the injured Mushtaq Ahmed in the Sameer Cup in 1996-97. And only In his second ODI (his first ODI innings), he went on to score a century off just 37 balls which was then a record for the fastest ODI century.
However, Afridi was consistently inconsistent. His inconsistency was as consistent as Pakistan’s inconsistency. Inconsistency had been his ally for the last 17 years. One moment he was an under performer, the next moment he became indispensable It was due to this inconsistency that he scored more than 7,000 ODI runs at an average less than 25. The ups and downs in his career had taken the sheen off his rare qualities as a sportsperson. But Afridi has the propensity to demolish the sides with bat and ball. He has all the shots in the book. No boundary is too long for him.
In the ongoing NatWest T20 Blast Shahid Afridi smashed 42-ball century in the quarter-final while playing for Hampshire against Derbyshire that included ten boundaries and seven maximums. He was promoted to open the innings, hit one of the fastest centuries made in the NatWest Blast. Due to his blistering innings which led his team to semis, he was awarded man of the match award.
Therefore, for the Semifinal, everyone was hoping a big score from Afridi. But there wasn’t any fireworks the next time he came out to bat as he made his way back to the pavilion with a golden duck against his name. One day he would smash the opposition with his ‘Boom Boom’ batting and on others, the mode of his dismissal had fans pulling their hair. With Afridi you never know what comes next. And that is what makes sport a fascinating prospect: unpredictability. With Afridi, the only thing that was guaranteed was surprise. Not even the keenest reader of the game could have predicted his next move on or off the cricket field. And these two innings summed up his whole career.