Full name Sahibzada Mohammad Shahid Khan Afridi
Born March 1, 1980, Khyber Agency
Current age 30 years 172 days
Major teams Pakistan, Asia XI, Deccan Chargers, Fly Emirates XI, Griqualand West, Habib Bank Limited, ICC World XI, Karachi, Leicestershire, South Australia
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Legbreak googly
Relation Brother – Tariq Afridi, Brother – Ashfaq Afridi
Test debut Pakistan v Australia at Karachi, Oct 22-26, 1998
ODI debut Kenya v Pakistan at Nairobi (Aga), Oct 2, 1996
T20I debut England v Pakistan at Bristol, Aug 28, 2006
First-class debut 1995/96
List A debut 1995/96
Twenty20 debut Kent v Middlesex at Maidstone, Jul 2, 2004
For a start, the slant of his all-round skills only became clear ten years into his career; he is a leg-spinning allrounder. Variety is his calling and as well as a traditional leg-break, he has two googlies, a conventional offie and a lethal faster one, though this is increasingly rare. All come with the threat of considerable, late drift. He fairly hustles through overs, which in limited-over formats is a weapon in itself and the package is dangerous.
But forever associated with him will be his madcap batting, the prospect of which is a crowd-puller the world over. He is a compulsive basher, literally unable to control his urges to slog every ball that comes his way, and not much of it is classical. Often spectacular results are at hand; he owns, for example, two of the fastest ODI hundreds, including the fastest one ever in his first innings ever at the age of 16. His career strike rates are nearly unmatched. But mostly, anywhere in the order, consistency has been missing.
Despite a healthy Test career, he gave up on the format in 2006, pre-empting men such as Andrew Flintoff, to maximise fully a limited-overs career. Twenty20 is something he could’ve been made for and he is probably the most lethal player of the format, having been player of the tournament for the inaugural edition of the World Twenty20 in 2007 and led Pakistan to the title two years later with matchwinning all-round hands in the semi and final.
Maturity has often threatened to gatecrash his career and leadership is a just reward, but it will not change much in a truly unique career.