Back in 1996, a young Shahid Afridi scored a blazing maiden century off 37 balls against Sri Lanka to create a new ODI world record. Now in his no-holds barred autobiography, “Game Changer”, the former Pakistan blunderbuss reveals that the century was scored using Sachin Tendulkar’s bat.
Sachin had given his favourite bat to Waqar Younis to take to Sialkot, Pakistan’s world-famous sports goods manufacturing capital, and get a custom-made one replicated there.
“But guess what Waqar did before he took it to Sialkot? He gave it to me, before I went in to bat. So effectively, that first century in Nairobi by Shahid Afridi was made with Sachin Tendulkar’s best bat. Go figure,” writes Afridi, who was 21 – and not 16 as recorded then.
‘Dreamed of hitting Sanath, Murali for 6s’ A stunning 102 off 40 balls, Afridi’s knock was studded with 11 sixes and six boundaries and came at a T20-type scoring rate of 255. He was playing his second ODI game and batting for the first time. Interestingly, Afridi had dreamed of smashing the Lankan spinners for sixes the night before.
The book, co-authored by Wajahat S Khan, says he had told his roommate Shadab Kabir about it in the morning. A middle-order batsman, Kabir played five Tests and three ODIs for Pakistan. “‘I had a dream that I was slamming Jayasuriya and Muralitharan and Dharmasena for sixes,’ I said. ‘Big, huge sixes.’ ‘Let’s pray it happens, brother,’ said Shadab’,” writes Afridi. As things turned out, left-arm spinner Sanath Jayasuriya was pummeled all over Gymkhana Ground in Nairobi. His three wickets cost him 94 runs in 10 overs while offie Muttiah Muralitharan went for 2/73. The innings was a bigger sensation because the batter was said to be only 16 years old.
However, the cricketer also revealed in the candid autobiography that the year of birth wasn’t accurate. “For the record, I was just nineteen, and not sixteen like they claim. I was born in 1975. So, yes, the authorities stated my age incorrectly,” he says in the book. According to some cricket websites, Afridi was born on March 1, 1980. If the all-rounder was born on March 1, 1975 then actually, he was not 19 but 21 when he had played that hurricane knock against the Lankans on October 4, 1996.
The article has been reproduced from TOI