Following a poor Champions Trophy tournament, Pakistan have recalled erratic all-rounder Shahid Afridi into their one-day fold for the forthcoming ODI series in the West Indies. This is not the first time Afridi has been reinstated after being dropped, but at 33 (that’s what his official age is!) he might not get many more chances if he doesn’t perform this time round. In spite of a nearly two-decade long career, his story has been a bit of a hit-and-miss kind, just like his batting. In 354 ODIs, he has scored over 7,000 runs but averages only 23.45. Surprisingly, he has done much better with the ball, grabbing 348 wickets at 34.30. Here’s a breakdown of his performances in different phases of his career.
October 1996 (debut) to December 2000: In this period, Afridi played 120 games and scored 2673 runs averaging 24 with two hundreds. His two hundreds came against Sri Lanka and India. Against Australia, he averaged under 20, against England 23, versus New Zealand and South Africa 21 and against West Indies only 17. He did not cross 50 in spite of playing 15 games against Australia and Bangladesh. With the ball, he picked up 78 wickets averaging 44. The one five-wicket haul he managed was against England.
January 2001 to December 2005: During this phase, Afridi featured in 96 games and his batting performance was only slightly better. He scored 2092 runs, averaging 24.3 with two hundreds – one against India and the other against New Zealand. His average against Australia this time was 15, against England 19, against South Africa 23.50, versus Sri Lanka only 14.3, and against West Indies 21. Afridi’s bowling had taken a significant leap during this period –101 wickets averaging 30, with a best of 5 for 11 against the Kenyans.
January 2006 to December 2010: In 90 matches during this period, Afridi scored 1666 runs averaging 23.13 with two hundreds. His tons this time came against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Afridi’s record improved against Australia –25.30. His average against some others remained disappointing –15 against England, 18 against India, 16 against New Zealand and 14 versus West Indies. Afridi’s figures with the ball also went downwards. He picked up 109 wickets, but averaged 34, with one five wicket-haul. Impressively, his best figures of 6 for 38 came against the Aussies, against whom he averaged 27 with the ball.
January 2011 to present: This was the worst phase in his batting career, which cost him his place in the side. In 48 matches, Afridi scored only 770 runs averaging 21 with a highest of 88. During his period, he averaged 3 against Australia, 14 against India, 21 against Sri Lanka and 9 against West Indies. His bowling during this period though was highly potent -- 60 wickets averaging 30 with five five-wicket hauls. However, his performances in the last few games before being dropped werepathetic. In his last few innings, he registered scores of 0.9,0,7,34, 88,4 and 0. With the ball, his recent figures have been 0/62, 0/60, 0/24, 0/55, 0/43 and 0/28.
--By A Cricket Analyst