Friday, September 18, 2009

Shahid Afridi

Sahibzada Mohammad Shahid Khan Afridi (born 1 March 1980 in Khyber Agency), popularly known as Shahid Afridi is a Pakistani cricketer currently playing for the Pakistani national team. He made his ODI debut on 2 October 1996 against Kenya in Nairobi and his Test debut on 22 October 1998 against Australia at Karachi.

He is known for his aggressive batting style, and currently holds the highest career strike rate in the history of international cricket. In a recent survey, Afridi was named as the most popular cricketer in Pakistan. His general style of batting is very aggressive and attack oriented and has earned him the nickname \"Boom Boom Afridi\" for his fastest One Day International century just in 37 balls. As of 22 May 2007, he has an ODI strike rate of 109.38 runs per 100 balls, the highest in the game's history. This attitude has been transferred to Test cricket as well, with Afridi scoring at a relatively high strike rate of 86.13 in Tests. He has an approach to batting that can change the tempo of a game and inspire the mood of an audience, as shown when a mass exodus of spectators occurred in Pakistan in late 2005 following his dismissal from the crease.

He hits many sixes long and high, favoring straight down the ground or over midwicket. A trademark shot is a crossbatted flick to the leg-side to a ball outside off stump. This explosive style has led to some memorable shots, most notably the first ever 12 in power cricket in 2002, where Afridi successfully hit the roof. However, his aggressive style increases his risk of getting out and he is one of the most inconsistent batsmen in cricket. This is reflected by the fact that he is the only player to score more than 5000 ODI runs at an average under 25. Bowling-wise, his stock ball is the leg break, but his armory also includes the conventional off break and a 'quicker one' which he can deliver at nearly 80 mph in the style of a medium-pacer. He bowls at a high speed for a spinner, resulting in lesser turn, and relying more on variations in speed. He occasionally sends down a bouncer to a batsmen, which is very rare for a spin bowler.