As boyish as he used to be two decades back when he started his journey, Shahid Afridi was completely undeterred by the push backs and rants he received from Pakistan when he walked-in at the Eden Gardens to embark his team's journey in ICC World T20 against a spirited Bangladesh.
The Pakistani captain has seen worst of the worst in recent times- a number of lost matches, particularly against the Bangladesh, a lawsuit back home, and a lot of criticism from the legends like Javed Miandad.
The atmosphere was thunderous. The fans were singing Bangladeshi Anthem. They even knew the local language. And the ones who weren’t Bangladeshis, weren’t the supporters of Pakistan at all. On the other hand, Pak fans were outnumbered.
The team had every reason to lose and give the excuse of discouragement. But as the men in green walked into the field, it was a different scenario all together.
The leader had decided to anchor it from front. Rather than giving up in stress, Mr. BOOM BOOM had decided to explode. Afridi in his individual performance smashed a 19 ball 49 when he batted and when it came to bowl he stroked twice.
But this wasn’t the punch here. 19 balls 49 is not rare sight anymore in cricket. With the evolution of T20, and the Pro-cricketing tournaments like IPL there are lot of batsmen like De Villiers and Gayle who are doing the same twice a month. Batting style have seen a lot of difference. But nor Gayle nor De Villiers have ever been given a nickname for their boundary hitting skills as Shahid got one – Boom Boom Afridi.
Well this is because Shahid was hitting sixes way before the shorter format of game was launched. No matter how many cricketers would ever hit a 30 ball century but Mr. Afridi will always be regarded as the one who made us believe – that YES, a century can be hit in 37 balls. In short, he will always be regarded as the pioneer of bombarding the cricket bowl in gentlemen’s game.
It isn’t the runs which he ever made, but the approach he gave birth at cricketing field. 50 runs in 100 balls, or 100 runs in 50 balls – Whatever be the target on board, Mr. Afridi would always have the same approach. The same happened this time too, when he had to prove himself he didn’t chose a different path. He just batted as he always do – Afridi style.
Today when Afridi was hitting sixes at Edens, he was in his natural self – A lion out and open, not just to roar, but to maul the opponent. The man, first spoke his heart out, he then faced salvos for his ‘love from India’ quietly, and now see how he has responded. Just the way a fighter is supposed to do.
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