Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Shahid Afridi: still amazing, if alarmingly likeable

Afridi is rather like a pair of jet-powered roller skates: fun to nip to the shops for a pint of milk, but you wouldn’t want to commute to work in them.

This one-man myth helped Pakistan dispatch the South Africans by a handsome six wickets. Not only did he whack 32 off 18 to get his side off to a great start, but he also bowled a decisive 3-37 off his ten overs.

Afridi is finally finding a permanent place for himself in the side. Previously, people expected lots of runs from the man. Let’s be honest with our selves: Afridi will never do that. Quick runs, yes; many runs, not really.

But his bowling is becoming increasingly dangerous. I fancied him as the best bowler in the twenty20 tournament, and his weird brand of… well, I don’t know what you call them, spinning sneezes, or something, anyway, whatever the heck he bowls, it seems to do the job.

I remember seeing him bowl once. I thought to myself, “he bowls fast for a spinner.” And I was right. What was I talking about? I yes, I was saying that Afridi is now a Really Good Bowler, he provides handy, if mad, runs. This is his place. Moving the spotlight from the batting, if impossible, is probably the best way of handling his unique talent.

Most people love Afridi. Usually, the slightest sniff of popularity in a player is enough to put me off them (the Monty excepted) but there is a charm in Afridi’s rather slack-jawed approach to the game. Like home-brewed scrump, there’s a rustic honesty to him made all the better by the random dead animals that they threw into the vat.

As a rule, I like the players that everyone else loathes. Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid: champions among younger and more exciting men. Show me a solid forward defence played to a harmless half-volley, and I will show you a happy Atheist. Everything is in its place, and the world is as it should be.

2 comments:

Uncle J rod said...

Michael Atherton must have got you all hot under the collar then.

The Atheist said...

Michael Atherton, along with John Major, will be live-time heros.

In an age of razzamataz and show, these are my idles of greyness and boredom. Long may their kind live.