Shahid Afridi – Love Him or hate Him but He is right up there with other Greats of the game

Afridi might not be the greatest al-rounder cricket has ever seen but he is the most feared because of his eccentric batting.  Afridi’s career might not be as amazing and prolific as Kallis’s and Akram’s was, but definitely the more entertaining than the other two. He announced his arrival with a detonation of runs against then World Champion Sri Lanka by scoring 100 runs in 37 balls, that was the fastest ODI 100 in Cricket at that point, and the record was held by him for 17 years. We are going to take a peek over Afridi’s career through the numbers:

1-Averages

Afridi had a better batting average in the longest form of the game but the sample size is too small to call him any great. His bowling average is significantly higher than other all-rounders. But when you look at his 8000+ runs in ODI and total of 11171 International runs to go with 540 international wickets, the figure is not that bad. Any team will take these stats for almost 20 years long service at the international arena.

Afridi’s contribution towards Pakistan’s cricket is extraordinary and the love/hate relationship with fans was obvious because of the passion carried for Cricket by Pakistani Fans. He is the only cricketer who was accepted by masses and also despised at the same time. He contributed towards several victories and he was also blamed for almost all the losses Pakistan has absorbed during his playing career. On most occasions it felt like that Afridi was the only one playing against the opposing 11 and his fans felt the same way when he won the game for Pakistan as he was the only one standing in-front of the other 11. Although Afridi’s participation reflects that when Afridi has shined, Pakistan has won matches and when Afridi had a sub-par day, Pakistan lost the cause on the field. His Batting and bowling averages are far better when the result was in favor of Pakistan.

2-MatchResults

When Afridi played, Pakistan has won 54% of the time. Pakistan always had better odds with Afridi in the side. Below is the breakdown of all formats when Afridi participated.

3-MatchResultsAfridiPArticipated

If we are looking for a index to measure the significance of a player’s contribution towards results, we should always look at the loss column first and when Afridi was participating within team, Pakistan has lost less games on average if compared to the likes of Brian Lara, Chanderpaul and Chris Gayle for West Indies, Rahul Dravid for India and Aravinda Silva for Sri Lanka. No other Pakistani Player has impacted the match results more adversely than Shahid Afridi but it is almost as much as Sachin did to India and Sangakara/Jayawardene duo did to Sri Lanka. Again they all were greats for their countries and Shahid Afridi is not.

4-PlayersInvolvedinMostLosses

With almost 300 SR in his first inning, he always maintained a high Strike Rate in ODIs and T20Is. He maintained the strike rate of 100+ throughout his entire ODI career and he retired from ODI with the SR of 117. His 351 6s in ODI are the highest number of 6s hit by any player in ODI. He is among the Top 10 in SRs for ODIs and T20Is.

5-HighestSrsInODI

6-HighestSrsinT20

Getting awarded as Man of the Match has its own significance in Cricket. An individual is awarded because of the impact he made in a particular match. It is usually not the only yard-stick to measure to determine the greatness but certainly a major one. Afridi has received 33 Man of the Match Awards in ODI and 11 in T20 Internationals. He is among the top-3 of all time in both categories. The frequency of getting these awards is still not as good as the other greats of the game but it is significantly better than many more who have played 300 or more ODIs and 40 or more T20Is. He only secured one Man of the Match award when Pakistan was a losing team of the match.

Afridi was awarded 44 man of the match awards so far and only 4 times it was on Pakistan’s soil, which is less than 10%. All of his 7 Man of the Series Awards were earned when playing away from home. He is one player who shined the most when he was playing away from home.

7-Most MOM in ODIs

8-MOM in T20s

Afridi is also criticized because of him scoring a duck in an ODI. According to the numbers, he maintained a better average than few other All Rounders of his era like Wasim Akram, Shaun Pollock, Chris Gayle and he came very close to match few famous specialist batsmen like: Gibbs, Younis Khan and Brandon McCullum.

9-MostDucks

T20 always favored Afridi’s batting style and T20I World Cup 2009 is when he performed to his optimal ability. He helped win the Semi Final and the Final against South Africa and Sri Lanka and awarded Man of the Match.

Semi-Final WC T20I 2009 ~ Pakistan vs South Africa

Final WC T20I 2009 ~ Pakistan vs Sri Lanka

Records are to be broken and Afridi smashed several of them. Someone of them are snatched away from him and he still holds a few:

  • Only player to hit more than 400 Sixes in International Cricket
  • Only Pakistani and 2nd overall with 10000 runs and 500+ wickets in International Cricket

Test Records

  • 7th Youngest Player to score a Test Century (18 years)
  • 2nd Fastest Test Fifty (26 Balls)
  • 2nd most runs off 1 over (27)
  • Most 6s off consecutive deliveries (4 of Harbhajan Singh)

ODI Records

  • Fastest Century in ODI (37 Balls, now it is 3rd Fastest)
  • Youngest Player to score an ODI Century (16 Years and 217 Days)
  • 2nd Fastest Fifty (18 Balls, 4 Times)
  • Best Balls/6 ratio in ODI Cricket (19.79)
  • Longest Six in History (158 Meters)
  • 5th overall with Most MOM Awards
  • 2nd Highest Strike Rate (116.86)
  • 1st Highest Strike Rate for Players more than 5000 Runs (116.86)
  • 6th Highest Wicket Taker (395 Wickets)
  • Most Wickets in 1 World Cup as Captain (22 Wickets in 2011)
  • 2nd Best bowling Figures (7 Wickets for 12 Runs)
  • 1st Player to take 350 Wickets and 8000 runs
  • Only player to take 5 Wickets and Score a Fifty 3 Times
  • 5th Overall in Most Matches in Career
  • 2nd Most Ducks in ODI (30, After Jayasuria(34))

T20I Records

  • 1st in Total # of Wickets (97)
  • Only player with more than 1000 Runs and 50 Wickets

Addition of few more facts (As of Today):

  • Last time Pakistan won an International ODI Tournament – Asia Cup 2010 – Man of the Match, Shahid Afridi
  • Last time Pakistan won against India – Asia Cup 2014 – Man of the Match, Shahid Afridi
  • Last time Pakistan won a World T2I Tournament – T20I WC 2009 – Man of the Match, Shahid Afridi
  • Last time Pakistan won a T20 Match (As of Today) – Against Bangladesh WC T20I 2016 – Man of the Match, Shahid Afridi
  • Last Time and the only time when a Pakistani won Man of the Series Award with 3 or more teams participating – World Cup T20I 2007 – Shahid Afridi

Cricket has never seen and never will see another Cricketer like him. Love him or hate him but he is one of the best in last 20 years. He can produce a batting score-line like 0610400600661166264400661411041606024100 and he can deliver a transcendent bowling figures of 9-3-12-7. He can stun India with 2 sixes in the last over with 9 wickets down and he can win you a World Cup Semi Final and Final in T20I. You can keep him out but his returns are usually bombastic. He came back after being sidelined from the test side with a century, with a 5 wicket haul, an 80 runs inning against India, a quick 54 runs inning and 5 wickets in a test against India in India and many more tales to share. You might be playing your last International game tomorrow but you will be remembered and Shahid Afridi, you will be missed!

 

 

 

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