‘I am not your man’
I have never supported Shahid Afridi. Is it because I never bought into the whole boom boom mania? Yes, partly.
Actually, for me it was more to do with the waste of his talent then the lack of it. Let's face it, we all know he has never lacked talent or flamboyance for that matter, but the way he has gone about things in his career in the past are well to say the least, a bit daft. He's been thrilling all of us since he arrived in the Pakistan team but the hope to ever see him blossom into something more than a gladiator type crowd pleaser had been dashed yet again in the current Pakistan vs Australia series.
With the announcement of his retirement and the subsequent change in captaincy to Salman Butt, leading to an unthought of victory for Pakistan, it’s not hard to hear Afridi’s nay sayers baying for his blood. I, for one however, cannot fault him for this. Too many people from our nation not only abuse the power given to them but hang onto it for dear life when they are damn sure they cannot handle it. To see him own unto responsibility like this is not only refreshing from a Pakistani standpoint but remarkably brave for anyone exposed to the minefield that is international cricket.
Let’s also consider the fact that Afridi never wanted to be Test captain in the first place, that he was not vying for it as some of the other individuals who were tried before Salman, and that he has always been supportive of whoever was at the helm. Let’s also not forget that he gave it a shot because his country needed it and that he is not quitting on his team or his fans; he will be there to display his magical aggression in the format best suited for him, Twenty20.
All he has done is recognise the fact that he is not as good a Test captain as this team deserves and stepped aside for a younger, brighter talent. Although I would advise a word of caution to the bandwagoners of this Test victory over the Aussies, our young captain did not really do much in it except hang on for dear life as Muhammad Aamer and Umar Gul took us to victory, oh and hug a lot of people, so let’s not deem him the messiah yet.
It takes a lot of courage to take a stand for your nation and for your fans. It takes a heck of a lot more courage to say "I am not your man" and give up the throne. In a nation where players are doted on like gods, Afridi gave up a lot to see us through. We should remember him for that, not give knee jerk responses like some erstwhile cola companies who gave quarter page ads in the nation’s leading newspapers the next day of Pakistan's victory.
Yes I had never supported Shahid Afridi in the past, but you know what? Now I do! Go Team Pak!
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