KARACHI: When Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi smashed a 37-ball century against Sri Lanka in 1996, he not only registered the fastest-ever one-day ton, he also became the youngest player to score 100 runs in an international.
Or did he?
In a new autobiography, the fiery all-rounder says he was aged 19 when he blasted onto the world stage with his record-breaking innings, and not 16 as history suggests.
“For the record, I was just nineteen, and not sixteen like they claim,” he writes in “Game Changer”, which went on sale this week.
“I was born in 1975. So, yes, the authorities stated my age incorrectly.”
Confusingly, if he was born in 1975, it would mean he was either 20 or 21 at the time.
Wisden, the sport’s recognised almanac, still lists Afridi as the youngest player to score a one-day ton — aged 16 years and 217 days — but his fastest-century record lasted until 2014 when it was eclipsed by New Zealander Corey Anderson, and by South African AB de Villiers a year later.
Cricket experts and fans have long questioned the purported ages of various Asian players — particularly in junior competitions — and Afridi’s revelation will only fuel the controversy.
In the weeks leading up to his record-breaking Pakistan debut, Afridi had been playing in an international under-19 tournament in the West Indies.
Pakistan cricket authorities claimed Hasan Raza was 14 years old when he made his Test debut against Zimbabwe in 1996, but Wisden doesn’t recognise that claim.
The age controversy is just one of many in Afridi’s book, in which he lays into former team mates with no holds barred — calling Javed Miandad, Pakistan’s most successful Test batsman, “a small man”.
“He hated the way I batted,” writes Afridi of the 1999 India tour, accusing Miandad of not giving him batting practice before the Chennai Test in which he scored a century to help Pakistan to a 12-run victory.
“Javed’s attitude towards me touched a new low. Before the post-match ceremony, he pulled me aside and said ‘Listen, buddy, you’d better make sure you thank me in the presentation’. I couldn’t believe it.
“That day I lost all my respect for Javed Miandad, supposedly one of the greats of the game but in reality, a small man.”
Afridi described another team mate, Waqar Younis, as a mediocre captain and terrible coach.
He said Imran Khan, a former captain and now prime minister of Pakistan, had an “abrasive style leadership”.
“By the way, they say that Khan… runs his cabinet the same way,” he added.
Afridi heaped praise on the late Bob Woolmer, however, the Englishman who coached Pakistan during his best years.
“I can safely say that the only coach who gave me that kind of support was Woolmer. My batting stats were better under him,” he writes.
He described former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir, with whom he clashed on-field in 2007, as “a burn out who had attitude problems”.
“I remember that run-in with him in 2007 tour when he completed a single while running straight into me. The umpires had to finish it off or I would have,” he said.
“Clearly we had a frank bilateral discussion about each other’s female relatives.”
MIANDAD LASHES OUT AT AFRIDI, SAYS HAD A LAUGH AT HIS BOOK
Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad broke his silence on the allegations levelled against him by Shahid Afridi in his recently published book, by saying that he laughs at the accusations.
Afridi in his autobiography, Game Changer, called Miandad ‘a small man’, who didn’t let him practice before the side’s historic clash against India.
In a brief interaction with journalists, the legendary batsman said that the former Pakistan captain adopted an inappropriate behaviour perhaps to boost the sale of his book.
“Afridi has changed. He is different from what he was before. If I have done injustice to anyone I apologise but he could have spoken about it earlier,” said Miandad, who scored 8832 runs in 124 tests for Pakistan.
The former skipper said that Almighty Allah gave him respect and nation prays for him.
“Salahuddin Sallu is a witness of how I helped Afridi scoring century in Canada. Ask him who was guiding him,” he said. “I can only laugh at the content of his book.”
Miandad said that he gave all the money of royalties to charity unlike Afridi, who is making money from his recently released.
GAUTAM GAMBHIR OFFERS TO TAKE SHAHID AFRIDI TO A PSYCHIATRIST
Gautam Gambhir a former Indian cricketer retorting to Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi’s statement about him in his autobiography ‘Game Changer’ has called him a ‘hilarious man.’
The 37-year-old Indian batsman turned to Twitter responding to Afridi’s statement about him having ‘no personality’ invited him to India adding that he will personally take him for ‘psycho-analysis.’
“You are a hilarious man!!! Anyway, we are still granting visas to Pakistanis for medical tourism. I will personally take you to a psychiatrist.”, read his tweet.
Afridi’s remarks about the cricketer in his freshly-released book have unleashed a storm across the border as he stated: “He (Gautam) who has no personality. He who is barely a character in the great scheme of cricket. He has no great records just a lot of attitude. In Karachi, we call guys like him saryal (burnt up). It is simple, I like happy, positive people. Doesn’t matter if they are aggressive or competitive, but you have to be positive and Gambhir wasn’t.”