Facing a storm at home, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi decided to take matters into his own hands.
A whirlwind 19-ball 49 from ‘Boom Boom’ against Bangladesh in Pakistan’s World Twenty20 opener ensured his side secured a morale-boosting victory on Wednesday. And before the dust settled, Afridi’s harshest critics had been silenced.
But former Australian captain Ian Chappell has warned Pakistan fans not read too much into Afridi’s fireworks and his decision to bat up the order against Bangladesh.
“I’m not sure if he will come up [the batting order]against the better sides. I’m not sure that they will allow him to play the way he did [against Bangladesh],” Chappell said
“But it worked and you have got to be flexible as a captain and he has probably got to pick his mark. He has got some other good players that he could push up the order.”
Chappell, who played 75 Tests and 16 one-day internationals for Australia, praised Afridi’s “calm and relax” approach in the Pakistan’s World T20 opener — something the 36-year-old swashbuckling all-rounder has lacked in his explosive career.
Afridi blasted 49 runs and returned to take 2-27 in match-winning that helped Pakistan launch their bid for a second World T20 title.
For Chappell, such an innings, however marvelous, would be tough to repeat unless the Pakistan captain was a ‘little patient’.
“If he could bottle that and do, I mean you can’t do it every time but most times and certainly on important occasions if you just stay a little bit calm,” he said.
“Sometimes you see him walk out to bat and you know immediately that this is not going to be good for Shahid Afridi. He is going to do something silly here.”
Commenting on the mercurial all-rounder’s determined approach in the World T20 opener, Chappell said: “When he walked out [against Bangladesh], we thought at least he had a chance.”
“He looked relaxed, got a nice easy single to get off the mark and get himself going. So many times I have seen him bomb the first one straight up in the air and he is gone. But he was relaxed and it paid off for him.”