It is still too early to think that Shahid Afridi can emulate Imran Khan by leading Pakistan to their second World Cup trophy, but he did at least one thing better than his legendary countryman on Wednesday.
With his 4-30 against the West Indies in the first quarter-final, Afridi overtook Imran to become Pakistan’s most successful bowler in a single World Cup as his tally in the ongoing tournament now stood at 21.
Imran claimed 17 wickets in the 1987 World Cup and held the record thus far, but it was only a matter of time for Afridi to surpass him as he was level with before playing the first quarter-final of the tournament.
Afridi had only seven wickets to his name in his first two World Cups, but after taking the captain’s armband he appeared as a different bowler in this edition, mixing his leg spin with a bit of pace which left the batsmen clueless.
His quickers have often got him wickets which was also the case against the West Indies while his fellow spinners accounted for eight wickets.
‘I am just trying to bowl wicket to wicket,’ Afridi said before the West Indies game, revealing the secret behind his success. ‘The condition is very good especially for the spinners, so I am trying to use the condition, trying to bowl wicket to wicket, not do any experiment with my bowling,’ he said.
‘Whatever the plan I make I try to stick with it,’ said Afridi.
Afridi, who is a flop with the bat scoring only 65 runs in six group matches in this World Cup, is fully compensating them with the ball, which already made him a top contender for the man-of-the-tournament award.
He is just five wickets shy of Glen McGrath’s record of 26 in a World Cup (in 2007) and with a place in the semi-final already assured following their 10-wicket win over West Indies on Wednesday, Afridi can easily dream for it.
India or Australia are waiting for them in the semi-final, but given the kind of form Afridi is now enjoying with ball, it should not be very difficult for them to overcome the Aussies and get into the final.
Their odds to win the tournament also went higher after crushing West Indies in the tournament’s first knockout match and if Afridi can lead them to the title his place in Pakistan cricket will be no less glorious than Imran.
He has already led them to the ICC World Twenty20 championship (in England in 2009) and a trophy under his stewardship in cricket’s flagship event, which is the 50-over World Cup, will only ensure his immorality.
Courtesy of New Age