Afridi rips Miandad apart in autobiography Game Changer | Daily News
Says cricketing great is a selfish, small man in reality

Afridi rips Miandad apart in autobiography Game Changer

Cover of Shahid Afridi’s book ‘Game Changer’.
Cover of Shahid Afridi’s book ‘Game Changer’.

Swashbuckling Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi is back in the news again but this time, not with the bat and ball but with his keyboard. Afridi has come out with his autobiography, Game Changer, written with journalist Wajahat S. Khan, on several topics that have dogged him, be it his age, remember how he was said to be the youngest to score the fastest century for his 37-ball ton against Sri Lanka in October 1996, or his views on players of his generation among other things.

With several former players turning up as coaches and talismanic captains, like now Pakistan PM Imran Khan, Afridi doesn’t spare the seniors either. Imran’s bete noire and main rival in the team, Javed Miandad, gets some attention from Afridi also. Of course in India, Javed Miandad is seared on the subconscious of an entire generation of Indian cricket fans for his 6 off the last ball from Chetan Sharma, which was an attempted yorker landing as a plum full-toss, at the 1986 Austral-Asia Cup in Sharjah. Pakistan had needed 4 and Miandad got them a 6.

Let’s get back to Afridi’s book. Miandad, also from Karachi, was the coach during Pakistan’s 1999 Test tour of India. Afridi, who plays like Indian great Virender Sehwag with scant regard to coaching manuals and footwork, says Miandad hated his method of batting and the technique, if there was any. He wanted to drop Afridi from the tour but Wasim Akram won the day for Afridi by insisting on his availability for the tour.

During the tour, Afridi says he was not allowed to bat at the nets before the Chennai Test which Pakistan won. Afridi scored a match-winning 141 in the second innings. Ahead of the post-match ceremony, Afridi says Miandad told him to tell the TV crew that he had scored the match-winning innings because of Miandad’s coaching and grooming.

Afridi notes, rather dramatically, that he lost all respect for Javed Miandad, a great in cricket with 8,832 runs in 124 Tests, but “in reality, a small man”. Yes, Afridi also admits that he was 19 and not 16 when he scored that whirlwind century against Sri Lanka.

Ever since Pakistani bowlers began to swing and then reverse-swing the ball like a yo-yo, the cricketing establishment and fans alike have been wonderstruck. Some players have said the Pakistani greats right from Sarfaraz Nawaz and Imran Khan to Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis maul one side of the ball and seam so bad that the sphere swings and sways like a magician’s cape. While many Pakistani greats have not revealed the secret of their success, Shahid Afridi has stepped up to man up and admit that when he was captain of Pakistan, he did bite the ball to ensure his bowlers could swing it.

Afridi says in 2010 when he captained Pakistan in an ODI for the first time, he admits to tampering the ball in pursuit of what seemed to be a desperate situation for the team. Justifications aside, Afridi says he bit the ball several times so as to dent it and end up with a rougher surface on one side, which is essential to get the bat moving in or moving out from the batsmen, depending upon how the bowler holds the rougher side and delivers it after his run-up.

Not all countries have been so soft on ball tampering, when Cameron Bancroft of Australia was caught tampering with the ball, he along with Steve Smith and David Warner were banned from international cricket.

While Bancroft was banned for 9 months, Smith and Warner sat out from national and Indian Premier League duties for a year, leaving the Australians an underwhelming underdog side.

The book is already controversial for its comments on Pakistan great Javed Miandad, and abrasive comments about East Delhi BJP candidate Gautam Gambhir and also for the revelation that Afridi was not 16 when he scored a fateful 100 off 37 balls against Sri Lanka but a full 19 years old.

Afridi, who is known for his gutsy, improvised and unique batting and his demeanour off the field, has been forthright in accepting his role in tampering with the ball.

He has also revealed that he had tipped off the Pakistan Cricket Board about spot fixing which eventually led to the ICC ban on fast bowler Mohammed Amir. – NewsX


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