I’m Afraid.. Afridi..!!

That is pretty much all of the fan-base has on offer for this mercurial and supremely talented guy after being served a two-match ban for ball tampering in the last one-day international against Australia.

Yesterday was a rare sight, a well-galvanised team that was rallying behind its Captain – something I have failed to associate with a team as talented as Pakistan.

Having been comprehensively beaten on most occasions and at certain others, succumbing to the enormity of the prospective accomplishment of pulling one off Australia, the Pakistan side has looked like a mere shadow of its illustrious past for most of the winter.

While not many tolerate – let alone admire, the flair and flamboyance of this team on this side of the border, I have always been a devout fan of the inimitable passion this team carries on to the field. Make no mistake – Team India is where my faithful support lies, but it is the sheer will to win – perhaps even more than the Aussies, that has found Team Pakistan a fan in me.

It was then no wonder that I was all but looking up to the current team to fire after the debacle at Sydney.

Enter Shahid Khan Afridi – and Pakistan was a new outfit altogether. But the hope and highness was short-lived. Afridi chose to have a meaty bite at the cherry in the most crucial of match circumstances. The act did not go unnoticed having been performed in broad daylight of the media shots.

While the timing of such an act was really pathetic from the standpoint of the match – Pakistan went on to lose the match, it also comes across as a blow to Pakistan’s chances of fine-tuning and rallying around Shahid to build the team that one has come to associate with their legacy.

I hope the ban does serve its purpose. In the case of the otherwise, we could have well turned up another ‘what-if’ scenario in a troubled outfit.

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