Afridi’s successful run in the 2011 World Cup is discussed widely, how the ‘Boom Boom’ boy has turned into the deadliest leg spinner available around the globe. Yet, more than the bowling and wickets, his captaincy is the key factor in Pakistan’s successful run to the semifinal.
Performance in WC 2011
As a bowler his 21 wickets Afridi is the leading wicket-taker of the tournament. If they reach final, he would certainly add more to his kitty and may create new record in terms of number of wickets taken during one World Cup. He has already become the only bowler to take 4 wickets or more thrice in the same World Cup.
As a player he has alredy proved himself in the World Arena. He was one of the most feared batsman who not only scored 5 centuries in just 27 test matches with an average touching 37, but also scored 6648 runs in 299 innings that includes 6 centuries, 31 half-centuries, including the fastest century and half-centuries. As a bowler he has 48 wickets in 27 test matches, 313 wickets in 294 ODI innings, taking 5 wicket haul 5 times. Even in Twenty20 he hass taken 98 wickets in 81 matches. As a fielder also, he has been one of the most agile player. He has taken 105 ODI catches,
Captaincy at Bigger Stage
Only his captaincy was not tested at bigger stage. Now, besides Yuvraj Singh’s form, Afridi’s performance has been the revelation of 2011 World Cup. Afridi is leading from the front, giving the team wickets when they need it. But, more than that he is keeping the team united. It is the same team which was marred by reports of factionalism and many other irregularities even before the start of World Cup.
Getting Depressed Pak a Confident Unit
Shahid Afridi took the reign of Pakistani team batterred with low morale. The state of affairs in Pakistan Cricket were in such a mess that captain’s name for World Cup was announced when it was inevitable. Amidst all chaos of administrative and betting related irregularities, common sense prevailed and Afridi was announced the captain.
Pakistan team is playing in the international arena after a long gap since Pakistan has become unsafe for foreigners. Shahid Afridi not only took the reign after completion of the last bilateral series before World Cup against New Zealand, but the way he brought the team members closer as a unit is a true example of how someone with great leadership skills can get the best from their members. Even Shane Warne brought the best result from a team of novice of Rajasthan Royals in first edition of IPL.
The Captain Supports His Players
Afridi – the captain – has not only led the team with example, but has also put the interest of team members above his own. He is always aggressively supportive of his team members not only on-field but off-field too. Not many captains would have dared to continue with Kamran Akhmal after his disastrous show resulted in one of the most humiliating defeat sufferred by Pakistan at the World Cup, when the Kiwis literally hit them for six outside the park by their record hitting spree in death overs.
His continuous support of Hafeez finally yielded result in the decisive quarter-final match. Who else would have backed his failing opener so much!!
Places His Player’s Interest Above His Achievements
Afridi- the captain – has also placed his personal achievements above the team. In the quarter-final against West Indies, he and Ajmal were bowling in tandem and taking wickets. West Indies were 71/8. He had already taken 4 wickets, and could have easily bowled his remaining overs and might have tried for another 5 wicket haul. Instead, perceiving that his other bowlers were also successful he gave opportunity to everyone to take the wicket. When none succeeded, then only he came to complete his remaining ovevrs and West Indies were immediately sent packing.
Crisis of Good Captains
When other major teams are having captaincy crisis – Afridi can be suitably judged as the best captain of World CUp 2011. Dhoni, Ponting, Smith (South Africa), Vettori, Sammy and Shakib have failed to lead from the front. Even Sangakkara and Strauss fail to match the consistent success of Afridi’s magic.
Under his leadership, Pakistani team has surprised all by topping the Group A, and now reaching the World Cup semifinal for the record 6th time (sharing the record with Australia). Now, although they are the top-most contender for the crown, even if they do not go beyond semi-final, Afridi has given the right boost to the Pakistani Cricket.
A very good article representing my thoughts as well. Definitely Afridi is the best captain and Pakistanis are lucky to have him as this crucial juncture. Owais Bayunus