Shahid Afridi — Sahibzada Mohammad Shahid Khan Afridi (born 1 March 1980 in Khyber Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas), popularly known as Shahid Afridi is a Pakistani cricketer and current ODI and Twenty20 captain of the Pakistani national team in the international circuit. 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. He also holds the record for the fastest one day century which he made in his debut innings in his second one day international, as well as scoring 32 runs in a single over, the second highest scoring over ever in an ODI. He also holds the distinction of having hit the most number of sixes in the history of One Day International cricket. In a survey taken in 2007, Afridi was named as the most popular cricketer in Pakistan.
Afridi started his ascendence to the captaincy in June 2009 when he took over from Younus Khan after that he was handed the ODI captaincy for the 2010 Asia Cup. In his first match as ODI captain against Sri Lanka he scored a century however Pakistan still lost by 16 runs. He then also took over the test captaincy but resigned after one test-match in charge citing lack of form and ability to play test cricket. He captained Pakistan in the following limited overs series against England and South Africa. Afridi after taking the captaincy has been publicly fighting with the Pakistan Cricket Board over who has the say in selection. Afridi and coach Waqar Younis criticsed the fact that they were not consulted among the selection of the team for the October ODI series. Afridi became much happier with the selection when he was consulted for the 30-man world cup squad and the squad for the New Zealand series.
In October 1996 at the age of sixteen he was brought into the ODI team as a leg spinner as a replacement for the injured Mushtaq Ahmed. He then gained notability as a pinch-hitter and began opening with Saeed Anwar. He holds the record for scoring the fastest century in One Day Internationals (off 37 balls), scored in only his second match and his first ODI innings. He also shares with Brian Lara the record for the third-fastest century in ODIs (off 45 balls). He also holds the record for the sixth fastest century which he made on 53 balls against Bangladesh. One of Pakistan’s most useful all-rounders, he has an extremely aggressive batting style, which has garnered him over 6,000 ODI runs (including a world record of 280 sixes), as well as taking over 270 wickets in ODI’s and over 40 in Tests.
For various reasons, including a perception that he lacks patience in his batting, Afridi had limited opportunity in Test matches, although he currently averages in the high thirties and mid-thirties with bat and ball respectively. As it is, Afridi has featured in less than one third of the Test Matches played by Pakistan over the course of his career. However, he made his presence felt in the third Test against India in March 2005, scoring a quick-fire second-innings half-century and taking five wickets in the match (including Tendulkar twice) to help Pakistan to win the game and register a series draw.
It is perceived that his batting struggles on bouncy pitches. He has had success as an opener on sub-continent pitches, Afridi is often moved into the lower order as well.
Afridi was more consistent with his batting and bowling throughout 2005, starting with the tours of India and West Indies and through to the England tour. The Pakistani coach Bob Woolmer helped Afridi to reach a fuller potential by improving his shot selection and giving him free rein over his batting attitude.
In the 2007 World Twenty20, he performed poorly with the bat but brilliantly with the ball, earning the Man of the Series award, though he failed to take a wicket in the final and was out for a golden duck. But in the next ICC Twenty20 World Cup, held in 2009 Afridi performed brilliantly in the series scoring 50 runs in the semi-final and 54 in the final and leading his team to victory.
On the 30 December, Afridi claimed 4-14 in a Twenty20 International game against New Zealand resulting in him taking his 50th wicket in all Twenty20 Internationals, being the first man to do so, he ended the match with 53 wickets.
- Has the highest ODI strike rate in history (of players who have made more than 600 ODI runs).
- Out of the six fastest ODI hundreds of all time, he boasts three of them.
- Hit the fastest ODI hundred off 37 balls in 1996.
- Has the highest aggregate of sixes in ODI history; Third Pakistan player to make 300 ODI appearances.