Despite being high on emotion and easy on facts, Game Changer makes some interesting points. Our electronic and social media has been quick to jumble up headlines and use them as click-bait of all kinds. However, a lot of time has been spent on explaining what Shahid Afridi is saying but who has time to read the whole book?
Let’s look at the political stances Afridi takes. Since the release of the book, followers of Imran Khan have lashed out on Afridi for his statements about Imran Khan in the book. The ‘Youth’ as they are called are angry, very angry but the ones I corresponded with did not bother to read the book.
In the book, Imran Khan has been mentioned on numerous occasions. Afridi wanted to be like Imran Khan, play like him and retire like him. But when he talks about his politics, there are two caveats.
Is Imran Khan’s own party clean, Afridi asks.
Is this the 1st time such a question has been asked? Many from within the party have asked the same question. Why bash Afridi for merely repeating it?
Another pertinent point Afridi makes is that Imran Khan hasn’t done much for his hometown Karachi. In the very next line he adds, nor have the rest of the cricketing powers. We can look at it in cricketing context or political context.
This is another fairly genuine question. This is the 9th month of Imran Khan’s government. PTI were handed out most of Karachi’s seats. What progress has been made? Is it wrong for a Karachite to ask this question? Even for a cricketing point of view, has there been any notable development?
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, also faced the ire of the phatan for in a way blackmailing him. Ijaz Butt, a PPP appointed PCB Chairman had forced Afridi from the national team. Bilawal offered to help in getting the ban overturned in exchange of the all-rounder attending PPP rallies. Obviously, that ended there. He isn’t a fan of how Sindh’s governance either.
Nawaz Shareef also wanted him to join his party. He asked him to put up ‘sher’, the electoral symbol of his party on his bat. Afridi, declined politely. Nonetheless, he calls Nawaz Shareef a good guy, who know how to deliver. But Afridi indirectly shows annoyance about how he dealt with ‘establishment’. He didn’t learn from being in and out politics, he says.
Naturally this brings us to military leaders. Raheel Shareef is a firm favourite. Pervaiz Musharaf and current COAS General Bajwa are also praised. This came as little surprise.
But what did come as a bit of surprise is the nuanced approach he talked about the MQM. Afridi, claims he was always fine with the MQM. He gives them credit for working for the city but also acknowledges they have hurt it with political violence. The ‘90s’ changed MQM and it was for the worse.
With regard to India, he has talked in detail on how cricket can be an ice breaker but has little hope until a ‘hateful’ Modi government is in power.
The media headlines have missed a lot of things Afridi wanted to say through his book. But Afridi, himself has acknowledged that he hasn’t read the book. How does he expect others to do so before making judgments?