Shahid Khan Afridi has had a glorious career on the playing field — that is if you call years of inconsistency with brilliant performances sporadically strewed all over your career’s map, glorious. Yes, he held that record for the fastest hundred for years. He has had his moments. But isn’t that bound to happen if you spend enough time on the field? Even a broken clock gives the right time twice a day.
Not only is he inconsistent, but stubborn too. After years of below-average performances, he has refused to let go of his position in the team.
How could anyone who has been calling himself a patriot, telling people he wants the best for the country, be adamant on staying on in the team and making a bad situation worse? If that wasn’t enough to make a person’s blood boil, his huge fan following has taken it upon themselves to defend him even when they do not have a leg to stand on. Bringing up something someone did 17 years ago as a way to defend his blunders is unrealistic.
If that wasn’t enough, the man went and scored himself 49 runs in his latest match and the Pakistani social media exploded with pictures of him saying he has made a ‘comeback’. Well, comebacks happen only when you’ve been in form your entire career and hit a bad patch, not when your career has consisted of a series of bad performances with an occasional good one. If truth be told, the man should retire, even if he ends up scoring a fifty in each of the remaining matches and takes the highest number of wickets in the tournament. He should retire because it’s time. He should retire because this country needs to learn the importance of letting go. He should retire, just so he is remembered as the ‘legend’ people are calling him today, rather than a man who had it all and still managed to turn himself into a public joke. We may not like admitting it, but all of us remember Inzamam-ul-Haq more because of his hilarious fall over the wickets than all of the amazing stuff he did during his career.
I am no expert when it comes to the game, but I am an avid fan. And as a fan, I take no pleasure in watching the mighty fall. I have very low expectations when it comes to Afridi making the right choice, but here’s to hoping that for once in our lives, one of us decides to do what is actually best for the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2016.