No one does it like Afridi
Afridi shines as one of the most valuable players for Pakistan. Keep going Boom Boom!
I have followed Shahid Afridi's performance for Hampshire in the Friends Life T20 Cup in England, and it seems like he has led the team to some impressive victories.
First, a 5 wicket haul to destroy Gloucestershire and then a belligerent 29 off 17 and 3-10 to roll over Sussex and lead Hampshire to the top of the table.
I don't see why anyone would be surprised considering the number of match winning performances Afridi has come up with, in Pakistan colours.
There are a number of people who have doubted Afridi's abilities at the international level - many who never thought he was capable of being Pakistan captain, and many who thought it was a good move to remove him as the One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 captain. Many even felt he didn't deserve to play international cricket.
This post is for all those Afridi critics (and one for all his fans to enjoy) to show what he has achieved over his glittering 15-years career for Pakistan.
1. He wasn't fast just once, he was always fast
I am sure you are aware that Afridi holds the record for the fastest ever ODI century. Its not only that - Afridi has scored 3 out of the 10 fastest 100s ever scored in ODIs. Jayasuriya is the only other batsman whose name appears more than once in this top 10.
That's not all. Afridi has scored a 50 in 22 deliveries or less as many as 7 times in ODI cricket! That is more times than any other batsman.
2. It rains sixes when Afridi bats
Yes, he has hit more sixes than any other batsman in ODI cricket, but that's not all. He has hit seven sixes or more in an ODI innings five times. No other batsman appears more than thrice in that list, which includes names like Sanath Jayasuriya, Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson, Yuvraj Singh, Abdul Razzaq, Saurav Ganguly, Viv Richards, and all other regular six hitters that you can think of.
3. He gives as good as he gets
Thirty-six is the answer and Herchelle Gibbs is the only one who has done it in an ODI, and Yuvraj Singh in a T20. But, no one has scored heavily off six deliveries as regularly as Afridi has. He has scored more than 25 runs in an over in an ODI on 4 different occasions.
4. His strike rate
Afridi doesn't hold the record for the highest career strike rate in ODIs anymore, but he has the highest career strike rate in ODIs for batsmen that have scored more than 600 career runs. Not only that, but Afridi has played a whopping 16 ODI innings, in which he has managed a strike rate above 200! That is more than what any other batsman has managed. The next best in the list is his compatriot Abdul Razzaq who has managed the feat seven times.
5. He started young
Afridi holds the record of being the youngest ever ODI batsman to score a century. He was only 16 when he scored the fastest ever ODI century.
6. He is among the best
Only Inzamamul Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Saeed Anwar, Javed Miandad, and Saleem Malik have scored more ODI runs for Pakistan than Afridi has.
7. He is multi-talented
Afridi is the 10th highest wicket taker of all time in ODI cricket. Only Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis have taken more wickets in ODIs for Pakistan than Afridi! This says something considering the high quality of bowlers that Pakistan has produced over the years.
8. And you say he is not a quality spinner...
More wickets than Saqlain Mushtaq, Mushtaq Ahmed, and Abdul Qadir for Pakistan in ODIs. Muralitharan, Anil Kumble, and Sanath Jayasuriya are the only spinners who have taken more ODI wickets than Afridi has. Yes, Afridi has more ODI wickets than Shane Warne!
9. He gets them out consistently
Afridi is in a very elite company of bowlers who have taken five or more 5-wicket hauls in ODI cricket. He has done it 5 times, and only Wasim, Waqar, and Saqlain have done it more times for Pakistan.
10. And you say he is not consistent as a bowler
Afridi has achieved the feat of taking four wickets or more in an ODI inthree consecutive games. That is as many as the best of them have.
11. He bowls them over a lot
Only six other bowlers have got their wickets bowled out more times than Afridi has. He sits 7th on the list, joint with the one who is regarded the greatest of them all - Glenn McGrath!
12. Very few have won games for Pakistan as many times as he has
Shahid Afridi has won the man of the match award for Pakistan in ODIs as many as 24 times! That is the same number of times as Inzamam has. Only Saeed Anwar has managed it more times for Pakistan - 28. That is more man of the match awards than Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Imran Khan, Javed Miandad and the many other match winners that Pakistan has produced!
13. He catches them too
Only Inzamam and Younis Khan have caught more catches for Pakistan than Afridi has.
14. No one has been as dominant as him with the ball for Pakistan
The 21 wickets that Shahid Afridi took in the ICC World Cup 2011 is the most that any Pakistani has ever taken in a single series. Only Waqar Younis has equalled the feat. That is also the most wickets any Pakistani has taken in a World Cup.
15. He's among the best allrounders in the world
Besides Sanath Jayasuriya and Shahid Afridi, no one else has scored more than 6,000 ODI runs and taken more than 300 ODI wickets. Afridi is also among the few allrounders who have scored a 50 and taken five wickets in the same ODI.
16. He does it in T20 cricket too
How many times have you heard that T20 cricket is not for the bowlers? Shahid Afridi is the highest wicket taker in T20s. He also holds the record for the best bowling figures in a T20 by a captain. Only Umar Gul has taken four or more wickets in a T20 more times than Afridi has.
17. No one has won more T20 games for their country than he does
Afridi has won the man of the match award in a T20 6 times, which is more than any other cricketer in the world.
18. His bat also talks in T20s
Afridi has scored 50+ in a T20 in 3 consecutive games. Only Brendon McCullum has done it more times (4).
I might have missed a number of other Shahid Afridi records and feats in limited overs cricket, but this is quite a comprehensive list to quiet down all the critics that he has.
You still think that he is not a match winner?
That he doesn't deserve to play for Pakistan?
That he doesn't deserve to captain Pakistan in ODIs and T20?
"Well Pitched" has always regarded Afridi as Pakistan's most valuable player, but even I wasn't aware of how much Afridi has achieved during his cricket career for Pakistan.
This should be an eye opener for everyone.
I sincerely hope that he doesn't miss any international cricket for Pakistan and continues to achieve more than he already has on the cricket field - not only for Hampshire and other domestic sides in Australia and Sri Lanka, but also for Pakistan.
Keep going Boom Boom!