NEW YORK

 

The exclusion of Shahid Afridi from thePakistansquad for next month's Champions League Trophy after a run of poor form has evoked comments even in theUSnewspaper which rarely covers cricket, a game yet to gain popularity in this country.

"On form, Afridi is one of the most exciting players in world cricket; a canny bowler and a super slogger of a batsman," Will Davies, a sports commentator wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, calling him an ‘explosive player.’

“He is one of those rare players who can turn a game by himself. But when things don’t go his way, as has been the case for much of the past year. Afridi is a frustrating presence who seemingly cares little for his wicket,” Davies said in an opinion piece: Bye Bye Boom Boom Afridi.

“His recent statistics are grim. In the 16 One-day internationals, he’s played since March last year, Afridi has scored 202 runs in 13 innings and taken just seven wickets," the article said. "Take out the 88, he scored inJohannesburgand his batting average plunges to just 10.4 runs. Afridi has had plenty of resurrections in the past, but even a phoenix like him could find it hard to fly again."

Davies hoped Afridi would rebuild his form. "This is the man who scored the fastest century in ODI cricket, reaching the landmark in just 37 deliveries againstSri LankainNairobiin 1996. Incredibly that was Afridi’s first ODI innings. He was just 16 years old. His 45-ball century againstIndiain 2005 is the fourth fastest of all time, and his hundred againstBangladeshin 2010 is the seventh fastest, coming in 53 deliveries.”

"Afridi also has 348 ODI wickets to his name, with a career-best six for 38 againstAustraliain 2009. With statistics like these, it’s understandable that selectors find it hard to drop the man.

"But their patience has run out, again. Cricket fans hope they haven’t seen the last of Boom Boom Afridi just yet, but how many more chances does he deserve?"