Advantages can demolish any team
Disadvantages too risky
Having witnessed the latest case of a team being 'Afridi-ed', on this occasion English county side Lancashire, I did not know whether to laugh or cry. Despite having over 100 one day internationals and 11 test matches already under his belt, Shahid Afridi still lives for the high speed, all-or-nothing approach.His critics view the agressive 21-year-old Pathan as foolish and perhaps even 'brain-dead'. His protagonists may refer to his style as cavalier and applaud the manner in which he applies his immense talent. Some may say he has no place in international cricket whereas others insist that on the basis of natural flair, he should be a regular fixture in even the test side.
Love him or hate him, one cannot overlook the raw talent and potential that is at stake here. Eventually, even those who hope for the day that Afridi develops into a 'genuine batsman' may be resigned to the fact that within this dynamic youngster looms an inborn power. This power is the driving force behind his uncontrollable aggression and his desire to slay all that comes before him. His instinct demands that every ball be hit, preferably hard, and preferably out of the stadium.His failure however, lies in his inability to curb his instinctive aggression when the situation so demands. The need for patience to survive against the 'good' ball and the art of playing according to the situation, for the sake of the team, do not ever seem necessary to Afridi.
For all the wonders and failures associated with his batting, it is his all-round skills that present him as such an attractive option in the one-day international scene. His athleticism in the field and his ability to winkle out crucial wickets with his 'legspin' bear testament to his rounded ability.Despite being understandably brandished as a one day specialist, Afridi posesses an encouraging test record. A 5 wicket haul at Karachi on his debut, against the mighty Australian side was then followed with a big hundred, 141 to be precise, in the famous test match against India at Chennai.
What cannot be disputed however, is that the prospect of dazzling fireworks, should he get into his stride, lures many a spectator to the ground. On his day, Afridi is a one-man demolition squad; the worst possible nightmare for the opposing captain, who will have his field setting strategies tested to the limit. The sheer brute force with which Afridi strikes a cricket ball can demolish its new and hard feel, within a mere couple of overs.It is this quality of Afridi, which remains his strongest and also his weakest, that renders him a rare, and indeed, endangered species in the modern arena
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