What is Shahid Afridi worth?
His bowling in the ongoing World T20 has been decent, the batting not so much.
For Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez, Afridi’s presence alone on the field adds value to the team and perhaps some tactical dilemmas for the opposition.
But when Pakistan take on India in their much-hyped clash on Sunday, Afridi will need to do a little more perhaps. An electric performance in the field, a couple of useful breakthroughs and maybe even a few runs with the bat, so as to ensure his ‘presence’ is actually felt by the opponents.
His bowling is obviously not the concern, an economy rate of 6.33 an over in the tournament is not too bad. It is his ‘indifferent’ approach to his role as a batsman, even in tight situations, such as the one against South Africa, which is most disconcerting.
Hafeez defended Afridi’s inconsistent form in the run up to the event and has stood by his star player in almost all press conferences in Sri Lanka so far. On the eve of the big match he once again sprung to the defence of the ‘all-rounder’.
“You don’t finish a career on the basis of one bad match. Afridi has always done well for Pakistan. His good or bad performances don’t matter to the team as much as his presence in the field does, that is the big thing.”
One possibility for Pakistan and Afridi himself would be a promotion up the order. The man relishes the challenge against India and maybe he needs the kind of belief that Younis Khan instilled in him in 2009.
Can Hafeez afford to do the same? If Afridi is going to persist with his hit-and-miss approach, could he be used as an option early on? Could it be the kind role he is looking for and should Pakistan shuffle around a combination that has worked well so far?
Pakistan are expected to go in with the same line up, should there be a change?
1 Mohammad Hafeez (capt.), 2 Imran Nazir, 3 Nasir Jamshed, 4 Kamran Akmal (wk), 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Umar Gul, 9 Yasir Arafat, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Raza Hasan.