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I didn’t care if I was or wasn’t doing well, as long as I was doing things my way; Shahid Afridi talks cricket

One constant criticism, Game Changer has faced is that the book provides little insight to Shahid Afridi as a cricketer. Matches are mentioned through Afridi’s scores. It fails to really dive into the mental side of being Shahid Afridi, the cricketer. Especially, with regards to his bowling. What comes out about his batting process (or the lack of it) isn’t clear enough either. You can, however, pick up bits and pieces from different parts of the book to make sense of it.

“I felt like a child who had been given a bat n sent in to face the greatest bowlers in the world.”

For someone who was opening in the era of Glenn McGrath, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Shaun Pollock, Allan Donald, Darren Gough, Simon Doull, Javagal Srinath, and others, this was a damming admission. There wasn’t any planning as such. That one hundred turned the heads of all our top class coaches and fans alike.

This takes us to his next admission about ‘Adoration of the crowd’. Afridi says in his book that when thousands want you to go for that shot, you do. Again, for someone who could and did control such urges on different occasions in his career, it showed how mentally weak he was.

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Or perhaps he wasn’t. Afridi goes on to say ‘I didn’t care if I was or wasn’t doing well, as long as I was doing things my way.’ So this is the way he wants things to go with the bat, irrespective of the crowd. Was it the much maligned Javed Miandad who pushed him to change or all other coaches during that period? The only coach who receives lavish prayers is Bob Woolmer. A lot of players seems to have an affinity towards the former South African coach. His passing away was so very tragic.

Afridi, also claims that his perseverance made him the man and the cricket he was/is. But he understands that some people see it as stubbornness. Possibly a little less of that famous stubbornness might have helped have a better cricketing career. But it wouldn’t have been so flashy.

That is pretty much it from the book in terms of how he wanted to bat, how the coaches tried to shape his career or why couldn’t he do it more often?

One glaring miss is on how he developed more variations as Woolmer came in. From around 2005 to 2009, Afridi was Pakistan’s premier spinner. What brought that about? Wajahat Saeed Khan had many other things to say.


Asjad Khan

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