Monday, 21 November 2011

Shahid Afridi- A Bowler or an All-Rounder?

Shahid Afridi's clinical all round performance in the game against Sri Lanka gave Pakistan the 5 match ODI series as they wrapped it in 4 matches with 3-1 with a game to spare. Shahid Afridi scored 75 runs off 65 balls to take Pakistan to 200 and then took 5 wickets for 35 runs to single handedly take Pakistan to victory. Over the last 2-3 years Shahid Afridi has been bowling brilliantly while his batting declined. But some or the other day he comes up with a batting performance like the one above to aserrt claims of being one of the best all rounders in the game. But is Afridi really an all-rounder like Kallis or Watson or is he just a bowler who can bat well like maybe Harbhajan or Stuart Broad?

Career Stats- Focusing on his ODI career, Afridi has transformed from an exciting over attacking batsman who bowled well to a player in decline and then finally into a phenomenal bowler or you may say an all-rounder in the last 3 years. In his overall career, he has played 329 ODI's and scored 6814 runs at a very meek average of 23.65 with 6 hundreds but an exceptional strike rate of 114.02. In bowling he has taken 327 wickets at an average of 33.39 with 6 wicket hauls. His batting average is low with a few hundreds but the high strike rate shows that even a brief stay on the wicket might be disastrous for the opposition. His bowling performance has only a few 5 wicket hauls(equal to the no. of 100's)  and an ordinary average. Seems to suggest he is an all-rounder but an average one if overall career stats are to go by even though the good performances he has are match winning and have helped Pakistan on numerous occasions.

Performance in last 3 years- Cut to performance in last 3 years where as stated above the former Pakistani skipper has gone a transformation in which he has emerged as a very good bowler but has declined as a batsman. He has played in 61 ODI's in the last 3 years and has scored just 1297 runs at a very ordinary average of 24.94 with 2 hundreds that too one was against Bangladesh while the other one against Australia was in a losing cause. In bowling he has taken 85 wickets at an impressive average of 28.71 with 4 of his 6 five wicket hauls in this period and all of them coming in matches Pakistan won. In the last 3 years there has been a stark improvement in his performance as a bowler. Infact he was the highest wicket taker in the 2011 cricket World cup. His batting performance has remained average as ever but he has the potential to come up with a good performance. In the last 3 years he has been one of Pakistan's best bowlers and has emerged as a main bowler for Pakistan rather than a part timer.

Final verdict- Pakistan's former skipper Shahid Afridi's career analysis clearly shows that from being considered as an attacking batsman with nice part time bowling abilities he has emerged as a main bowler with part time batting abilities in the last 5 years. Earlier he was an average all rounder but now he has become a very good bowler who can bat well. So maybe giving him a seasoned all rounder's status would not be justified. Due to Afridi's all round status Pakistan tend to sometimes take one batsman less in their team and sometimes suffer. I think Pakistan should treat him as a bowler first and batsman later. Afridi has come out of retirement just recently and in this day and age where Pakistan cricket is always surrounded by controversy Afridi has done a brilliant job to bring a smile on the face of Pakistani cricket fans. Hope the "bowler" continues doing so!!!!

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