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It’s time to bid a final adieu to the flamboyant Afridi

And so with many things, that came to an end too. The man, who made millions of people to sit in front of their television sets until the glitzy show of an entertainer ends and the man who single-handedly conquered the hearts of millions for over 20 years, has decided to head off the field. His admirers call him with a lot of names. He is Lala for many. He is Boom Boom for countless. He is Afridi, the ageless flamboyant all-rounder cum the big-hearted human being who knows how to rule the hearts and the world.

Who could have imagined that a young, tall, sparkling boy in Nairobi, would beat the record and score the then fastest 37-ball century in his just second international match will surmount the field and hearts for two decades. The Afridi brand of cricket was thus born and the word "entertainer" registered the glossary of cricket.

Swaggering, strutting, swashbuckling, aggressive and hard-hitting were the terms those successfully introduced by Afridi brand of cricket. His carefree batting style, tricky leg-breaks, and signature-styled celebration are the things that could only Afridi bring to us. Just after taking a, he would strike his star-man pose, fingers pointing to the heavens, legs spread wide.

The world saw a limited over stalwart play 523 times for Pakistan, scoring 11,185 runs and taking 540 international wickets. He was one of the best all-rounders world cricket has ever produced. He was among Brendon McCullum, Sanath Jayasuriya, Jacques Kallis, Kumar Sangakkara and AB de Villiers - where cricket lovers would get their money's worth. He had the power to make the 'adrenaline to rush'.

Afridi you beauty!! The words came out of Rameez Raja’s mouth when he hit the majestic two sixes to Ashwin to seal the deal against India. The moment will forever remain in the memory of 200 million that live and breathe cricket in Pakistan. Either its 2009 World T20 final and semi-final or 7/12 against West Indies, Afridi has done it all.

There’s no need to be a fan of him to feel the electric current waving into your body when Afridi is standing over there hitting the ball over the boundary. Afridi was a mixture of entertainment, disappointment, and madness but man was those glories great when they appeared - like a shooting star capturing your eye over the ever present night sky.

Going high or going big was his philosophy of cricket. People called him brainless cricketer but he just played his natural game. Never bothered about his critics and he believed in his instincts. His batting was always remained in top gear and never changed the gears. For him, the cricket ball was supposed to be hit and hit hard out of the ground.

Afridi said goodbye in fitting fashion as well. His retirement from his only playing format - T20s - came in surprise after smashing a 28-ball 54 for Peshawar Zalmi that nearly pulled off the superb chase v. Karachi Kings in the ongoing Pakistan Super League. It was his first fifty in his 16 matches for PSL.

 “I have said goodbye to international cricket. I am playing for my fans and will continue to play this league for another two years but it's goodbye from international cricket. Now my foundation is important for me. I have played with seriousness and in a professional way for my country.”

He was one of the greatest and one of the worst. A paradox. Very few players have commanded the respect of stadiums getting empty if their favorite player departs - only likes of Tendulkar, Lara or Afridi. He has held numerous records, and he leaves with some records still under his name. He scored that fastest century at a time when cricket wasn't what it's like today.

Nonetheless, he has given so much to the game, his team and his fans! Whatever the future holds for Afridi, the fact is that he was an only one-of-its-kind cricketer, a one-in-a-million entertainer who brought immense pleasure to cricket lovers around the globe and he shall always remain a people's champ. He will be missed as there will be no other like him.

Nation wishes him Good Luck for Shahid Afridi Foundation!

 

Nazish Islam - a media graduate with an undying love for chai, books, traveling, series shows, sports, hijab, and of course writing.

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It’s time to bid a final adieu to the flamboyant Afridi

And so with many things, that came to an end too. The man, who made millions of people to sit in front of their television sets until the glitzy show of an entertainer ends and the man who single-hand...