Pakistan all-rounder star, Shahid Afridi, launched his autobiography ‘Game Changer’ today (May 2) describing his marvelous career, some controversial secrets and honest opinions about the Pakistan national cricket team.
In his memoir, co-written with journalist Wajahat S Khan, the former skipper has narrated his life’s journey from humble beginnings in the mountains of northwest Pakistan to his illustrious career as a cricketer and captain of the national cricket team.
He has also offered his thoughts on former cricketers and coaches, praising some and bashing others as candidly as his batting style that earned him the nickname ‘Boom Boom’.
Afridi blatantly revealed some shocking information about the weaknesses, hypocrisy and spot fixing in the national team.
Shahid Afridi finally revealed the mystery around his age, as he corrected his official age registered in the cricketing record books. Superstar all-rounder started with correcting his age at the time of his then-fastest century off just 37 deliveries.
He wrote, “I was just nineteen, and not sixteen like they claim. I was born in 1975. So yes, the authorities stated my age incorrectly.”
2010 Fixing Scandal in England
Boom Boom also criticized the director general (DG) of PCB saying that no new policies and reforms were implemented and and nothing substantial was achieved during his days.
He also mentioned that few months before the 2010 Lord’s fixing scandal, everyone in the management know about the on-going spot fixing along with hard evidence which they ignored and faced the fiasco.
He wrote that they showed their indifferences not only to management but on the field as Pakistani all-rounder Shoaib Malik was appointed as the captain even though he was impassibly unfit for the job whereas Salman Butt was appointed as the vice-caption of Pakistan.
Imran Khan – A Leader and a Superstar
Shahid Afridi praised former captain turned prime minister Imran Khan in his book stating that Imran never interfered in personal matters nor got personal with any player, same as he is running his cabinet today.
He applauded his efforts for peace with the neighbor India and ideas for Naya Pakistan.
Afridi further writes that he believes Imran Khan is “relatively more flexible than Modi ji” and that “he has already proven this”.
“Imran Khan is now the elected prime minister of Pakistan. We have to give him the respect that a prime minister deserves. We have to make things work. As for his vision, I don’t have any doubts about Imran’s integrity or the goals he has set to achieve – a vision that he calls ‘Naya Pakistan’, the new Pakistan. The real question which bothers me, though, is his team selection,” he says.
“From his peace overtures (I quote his first speech, about Pakistan taking two steps towards peace if the Indians take one step – an approach I personally believe in too) to opening the Kartarpur corridor and releasing the Indian Air Force pilot shot down by the Pakistanis in February 2019 – peaceful relations with India are essential. Both countries, even the subcontinental region, will flourish,” the all-rounder talked in his book.
Mediocre captain, Terrible coach
Former skipper talked about the ICC World Cup 2003 debacle stating that Waqar Younis leadership sunk the national team in the tournament. He believed that Waqar lacked unity and could not fight the dressing room politics which he, himself, is responsible for. He had no leadership skills to lead the team.
“Unfortunately, he hadn’t let go of the past,” he talked about the legendary pacer.
“Waqar and I had a history, dating all the way back to his tiff with Wasim over the captaincy crown. He was a mediocre captain but a terrible coach, always micromanaging and getting in the way, trying to tell the captain – me – what to do… It was a natural clash and it was bound to happen.”
Afridi shed some light on the legendary cricketer Wasim Akram as well describing that everyone wanted him to lead the team instead of Waqar Younis but politics former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman of the PCB, Lt Gen. Tauqir Zia, sided with Waqar which cost the national team in the field.
They both had a very controversial relation, he expressed.
Javed Miandad – A Small Man
Former Pakistan all-rounder revealed discriminatory behavior of Javed Miandad towards him calling him a small man.
He expressed “The tussle had started even before the series kicked off. Miandad had developed a strong opinion against me… in fact, the day before I went to bat, Miandad didn’t even give me any net practice. So I had to practice on a stringed ball, alone, away from my teammates. That was the cloud of angst and embarrassment under which I was playing my first Test against Pakistan’s greatest rival.”
He asserted that Miandad forced to credit him, for his good performance, in the presentation ceremonies.
He added, “In his (Javed Mianded) playing days, he earned himself a reputation, but retirement has brought out the worst in him” as he still demands respect from everyone at any cost.
Shahid Afridi who is known for hitting the ball out of park did the same with his autobiography.