When Twenty20 cricket was first gaining its popularity, people said things like ‘oh, that sounds like the sort of thing Shahid Afridi would like – he scores runs at a ridiculous rate whilst holding defensive shots in the contempt they deserve‘ (as it was put in the Guardian, he “bats with the foolhardy panache of all three musketeers rolled into one“). When the first IPL auction came around, the Deccan Chargers agreed, shelling out $675,000 for his services.
His first season in the IPL wasn’t that impressive, though, and at the time he made more headlines with his complaints about the cheerleaders being “distracting” than with his cricket.
South Africa have felt the full force of Afridi’s aggression, however, in the World Twenty20 semi-final. As well as blasting 51 from 34 balls, he took an impressive 2 for 16 from 4 overs with the ball to help his side qualify for Sunday’s final.
Whatever happens on Sunday, Afridi has confirmed what we already knew – after all these years, he’s still full of surprises.