23 June, 2021

Rt-Hand Unorthodox

Shahid Afridi, Pakistan’s skipper, is on top with some spin zing

PTI Photo
Rt-Hand Unorthodox

On the crispy afternoon of March 6, Pakistani cricket captain Shahid Afridi saunters into the hotel lobby at Kandy, in a blue Diesel T-shirt and black track pants and flip-flops. He collapses into the sofa and grins, “Each day is a beautiful day, you know.” Why wouldn’t Afridi find life beautiful—he’s in picturesque Kandy, led his team to three successive victories, thus burying, at least temporarily, Pakistani’s nighmarish performances in the World Cup editions of 2003 and 2007. And, not being clairvoyant, Afridi isn’t really expecting the shocking humiliation that awaits his team two days later at the hand of the Kiwis. The Pakistan skipper has been bowling, to quote Outlook columnist Sanjay Manjrekar, like a dream, snapping 15 wickets in four matches, each scalp followed by arms raised to the sky, in the manner of a heavyweight pugilist.

In this World Cup of astonishing performances and heart-crushing upsets, Afridi’s dominance of the bowling tables must count among the big...

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