A cricketer for whom can safely be said that cricket never has and never will see another like him is no other than Sahibzada Mohammad Shahid Khan Afridi, popularly known as Shahid Afridi and is nicknamed, 'Lala' for friends
A cricketer for whom can safely be said that cricket never has and never will see another like him is no other than Sahibzada Mohammad Shahid Khan Afridi, popularly known as Shahid Afridi and is nicknamed, 'Lala' for friends and family and 'Boom Boom' for fans. He was born into Afridi Tribe of Pashtuns on 1 March 1980, in Khyber Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan but now resides in Karachi.
Known, for his aggressive batting style, Afridi made his One Day International (ODI) debut in October 1996 against Kenya and his Test debut in October 1998 against Australia. He previously held the record for the fastest ODI century i.e.in 37 deliveries, which he made in his first international innings, as well as scoring 32 runs in a single over, the third highest scoring over ever in an ODI.
He also holds the distinction of having hit the most number of sixes in the history of ODI cricket but he considers himself a better bowler than batsman. Aged 16 years and 217 days, Afridi became the youngest player to score an ODI century.
In 2001, Afridi signed a contract to represent Leicestershire. In five first-class matches he scored 295 runs at an average of 42.14, including a highest score of 164 and took 11 wickets at an average of 46.45. Afridi also played 11 one day matches for the club, scoring 481 runs at an average of 40.08 and taking 18 wickets at 24.04.
His highest score of 95 came from 58 balls in a semi-final of the C&G Trophy to help Leicestershire beat Lancashire by seven wickets. Derbyshire County Cricket Club signed Afridi to play for them in the first two months of the 2003 English cricket season. In June 2004 Afridi signed with English county side Kent to play for them in three Twenty20 matches and one Totesport League match.
In June 2009, Afridi took over the Twenty20 captaincy from Younus Khan, and was later appointed ODI captain for the 2010 Asia Cup. In his first match as ODI captain against Sri Lanka he scored a century however Pakistan still lost by 16 runs. He then also took over the Test captaincy but resigned after one match in charge citing lack of form and ability to play Test cricket and at the same time he announced his retirement from Tests.
He retained the captaincy in limited-overs form of the game and led the team in the 2011 World Cup. In May 2011, having led Pakistan in 34 ODIs, Afridi was replaced as captain. Later that month he announced his conditional retirement from international cricket in protest against his treatment by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
However, in October he withdrew his retirement as Ijaz Butt had been replaced as chairman of the PCB. Two weeks after his announcement, Afridi was included in Pakistan's squad to face Sri Lanka in three ODIs and a T20I. In November 2011, Afridi became the only cricketer to score a half-century and take five wickets on two separate occasions in ODIs. Afridi achieved this feat in the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka which helped Pakistan to secure the one-day series. He also became the first person to score 50 in his 50th T20 International (he is the only one to have played 50 T20Is as of 9 July 2012).
Afridi holds the most Player of the Match awards with 7, one above Sanath Jayasuriya and Kevin Pietersen who are both tied in 2nd place with 6. In 2013 during the first ODI game against the West Indies in Guyana, Afridi finished with figures of 7/12, the second best ODI bowling figures of all time.
Moreover, out of the seven fastest ODI centuries of all time, Afridi has produced three of them. As of May 2013, he has an ODI strike rate of 114.53 runs per 100 balls, the third highest in the game's history.
He has an approach to batting that can change the tempo of a game and inspire the mood of an audience. He hits many sixes long and high, favouring straight down the ground or over midwicket and hit the longest ever six in the history of ODIs against Australia. His trademark shot is a cross-batted flick to the leg-side to a ball outside off stump.
Shahid Afridi smashed the second fastest one-day half-century to give Pakistan a three wicket win over Bangladesh on 4 March 2014 and a place in the Asia Cup final. The 34-year-old, who hit two consecutive sixes to give Pakistan a one-wicket win over India on 2 March 2014, was once again Pakistan's saviour as they chased down their highest-ever target of 327 in 49.5 overs in Dhaka.
Afridi, who went into bat with Pakistan needing 101 off 52 balls, smashed pace man Shafiul Islam for a four to reach fifty off just 18 balls, one short of one-day cricket's fastest-ever half-century record held by Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya, made against Pakistan in Singapore in 1996.
He equalled his own record of second fastest one-day fifty, set twice by him. He scored an 18-ball fifty during his 37-ball hundred against Sri Lanka in Nairobi in 1996 and another 18-ball fifty against the Netherlands at Colombo in 2002. In all, Afridi took seven sixes and two boundaries off just 25 balls.
UNICEF and Pakistan authorities have taken Shahid Afridi on board for its anti-polio campaign in the tribal belt of lawless Waziristan region.