Shahid Afridi was the game-changer for Pakistan during his playing days. Be it with the ball or bat, he had the knack of producing match-winning performances. The Pakistan superstar played 27 Test matches, 398 ODIs, and 99 T20Is in an international career that spanned for a couple of decades.
However, there were multiple retirements in that span. He kept retiring and kept coming back as well. Moreover, he has served Pakistan cricket as the captain for quite some time. While he led his national side in just one Test, he captained in 38 ODI matches. He also was the skipper in 43 T20Is which is the most by a Pakistan captain so far in the shortest format.
Afridi is not only known for making comebacks from retirement but also for his controversial statements. Over the years, he has often irked in press-conferences and has made controversial comments. Hence, here are five times where Shahid Afridi made controversial statements.
1. Indians are not as large-hearted as us (2011)
Over the years, India have had the edge over Pakistan in ICC tournaments. In 2011 World Cup, Shahid Afridi’s Pakistan came up short against India in the big semi-final. It was the fifth successive time India beat Pakistan in a World Cup game.
India huffed and puffed their way to 260. However, the Indian bowlers were up to the task as they defended a par score and beat Pakistan by 29 runs. Afridi was all praise for the Indian team in the post-match presentation.
However, it was a couple of days after India’s World Cup win, Afridi compared the hearts of the Indians and Pakistanis. He felt that the Indians are not as large-hearted as his countrymen. “In my opinion, if I have to tell the truth, they (Indians) will never have hearts like Muslims and Pakistanis. I don’t think they have the large and clean hearts that Allah has given us,” Afridi who was the captain of Pakistan’s 2011 World Cup side was quoted saying.
2. On his daughters and not allowing them to pursue sport (2019)
When the world is moving towards equality and equal support for women, Shahid Afridi seems to be moving backwards. In a controversial statement, he said that he will not allow his daughters to play any professional outdoor sport. The main reason for it is social and religion reasons.
It was back in October 2000 when Afridi tied the knot and got married to his maternal cousin Nadia Afridi. The duo has four daughters, Aqsa, Ansha, Ajwa, and Asmara. However, if Afridi has his way, none of them will be allowed to pursue an outdoor sport if they want to.
“Cricket? No, not for my girls. They have permission to play all the indoor games they want, but my daughters are not going to be competing in public sporting activities,” Afridi expressed his views. He was blasted on Twitter and other social media as he was criticised for his decision.
3. On Pakistan’s women’s cricket – ‘Our women are good cooks’ (2016)
The rise of women’s cricket in this decade has been remarkable. However, there is one person who has had a problem with that and thinks that women should be bound to the kitchen. Shahid Afridi was the center of attraction when he was asked about his views on Pakistan women’s cricket.
Afridi was being interviewed by ARY News TV and it was aired in March 2016. When he was asked about his perspective on women’s cricket and Pakistan’s women’s team playing in Peshawar, Afridi left everyone amused with his answer. He said, “Our women have magic in their hands; they are good cooks.”
In fact, when a follow-up question was asked, he pushed it under the carpet. He added, “Thank you. You got your answer” and laughed it off.
4. ‘Sachin Tendulkar was scared of Shoaib Akhtar’ (2011)
In 2011, Shoaib Akhtar released his book, Controversially Yours. He wrote that Tendulkar was scared of the Rawalpindi Express. It claimed Akhtar used to trouble with extreme pace. This brought a lot of criticism from all corners.
However, Akhtar’s teammate Shahid Afridi went on to support the speedster who retired in 2011. When asked about how much of the controversy is a lie, Afridi said that his teammate was telling the truth. “Shoaib is telling the truth. Tendulkar was afraid of him and I saw Tendulkar’s legs trembling while facing his bowling,” Afridi was quoted saying.
Moreover, there have been numerous occasions when Tendulkar has got the better of Akhtar. The latter has dismissed the Indian master a total of eight times in international cricket (five times in ODIs and three times in Tests). Hence, this comment saw Afridi face a lot of flak as well.
5. ‘Ghatiya question’ (2016)
Pakistan were once a force in the shortest format. They were the T20 World Champions in 2009 and did well in all the World T20s as well. However, they were on the decline for a few years. They had a chance to put things back on track as another World T20 approached in 2016.
However, before that they played New Zealand in the latter’s home. Before leaving for the tour, Shahid Afridi was addressing the media. When asked about the slip in Pakistan’s T20I ranking (from 2 to 6), the star Pakistan all-rounder and then T20 skipper got irked and said, “Aapse aise ghatiya sawaal ki hi umeed thi [I expected such a crap question from you].”
Afridi was trolled and criticised a lot for this statement. In fact, a few media people protested and called out slogans against him as well.
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