Shahid Afridi, popularly known as Shahid “Boom Boom” Afridi because of his explosive batting style, is a former Pakistani cricketer and also the former captain of the Pakistan cricket team. He was born on 1 March 1980 in the federally administered tribal area of Khyber in Pakistan.
Generally a right-handed all-rounder, Afridi is well known for his charged style of batting. He was also an economical and consistent bowler relying on change of pace more than spin.
He is well known for holding the fastest century in just 37 balls, which was later overtaken by South African batsman AB de Villiers. Afridi currently holds the record for the most number of sixes in the history of ODI cricket.
Shahid Afridi’s international career began when he was selected for the 1996-97 Sameer Cup as a leg spinner, replacing the injured Mushtaq Ahmed. He batted as a pinch-hitter at number three in his first few matches.
As a player, Afridi has represented several clubs. Other than playing for the Pakistan, Afridi played for the Deccan Chargers, Dhaka Gladiators, Fly Emirates XI, Griqualand West, Habib Bank Limited, Hampshire, ICC World XI, Karachi, Karachi Region Blues, Kowloon Cantons, Leicestershire, Melbourne Renegades, Northamptonshire, Peshawar Zalmi, Rangpur Riders, Ruhuna Royals, South Australia, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
Shahid Afridi made his international debut on 2 October 1996 in an ODI against Kenya. However, he did not get to bat in that match and was wicketless too.
He made his batting debut in the next match against Sri Lanka. He made his test debut two years after his ODI debut, on 22 October 1998 against Australia in the third match of a three match series.
His T20I debut was on 28 August 2006 against England. Afridi’s career went on a consistent trajectory for both club and nation. He was consistent in both batting and bowling from 2000 and cemented himself as a solid all-rounder.
Rise to Glory
Shahid Afridi’s career began with a bang, showing early signs of glory. He became the youngest batsman at 16 years and 217 days to score an international century. On his batting debut against Sri Lanka, he scored the fastest ever century at the time in just 37 balls hitting eleven sixes in the process, which is also a record.
He made his test debut two years later, picking five wickets in the first innings against Australia. He made his maiden test century in his second test against India, scoring 141 runs from 191 balls. He also picked 3 wickets in the same match, conceding 54 runs.
Afridi’s Test career took a spike after several match-winning performances for his team. In 2005, he helped Pakistan beat India by scoring a quick-fire half century and also by picking 5 wickets. In the same year, Afridi scored another fastest century from just 45 balls.
Afridi also became the first player to receive the Man of the Series Award in the first T20 World Cup in 2007. He fared well more with the ball than the bat. He was the highlight of the 2009 T20 World cup, where Pakistan beat Sri Lanka thanks to Afridi’s half-century.
Afridi has experienced quite a blind spots in his career. On 21 November 2005, Afridi was banned for a Test match and two ODIs for deliberately damaging the pitch in the second match of the three-Test series against England. He was seen scrubbing his foot on the pitch and later pleaded guilty.
Again on 8 February 2007, he was seen thrusting his bat into a fan after a scuffle and was banned for the first two matches of the 2007 World Cup. He is well known for his “retirement antics” when he retired in 2010 and returned. His career started declining after 2007, due to his rash style and his improvement in bowling instead of batting.
Afridi’s club career began when he signed for Leicestershire in 2001. He put up a match-winning performance against Derbyshire in the C&G Cup semi-final.
He went on to play for several other clubs and was also the President of the PSL team Peshawar Zalmi. He was also one of the world’s 20 most charitable athletes in 2015 by the Do Something foundation.
Afridi became the captain of his national side for the first time in 2009, when Younis Khan announced his retirement. He was later made permanent captain of the T20 side.
In March 2010, Afridi was named the ODI captain and led Pakistan in the 2010 Asian Cup, ending as the highest run scorer in the tournament with 384 runs, including two centuries.
On 25 May 2010, he became the captain in all three formats.
In July 2010, Afridi announced his retirement from Test cricket. After the 2015 ICC World Cup, he retired from the ODI cricket as well. In February 2017, he announced his retirement from international cricket.
He still plays for clubs and played his last match on 17 December 2017. He conditionally retired twice due to conflicts with the PCB and returned. He finally retired in 2017. His career lasted a total of 21 glorious years with a fair share of ups and downs.