Afridi aiming to better McCullum’s 158 in IPL

April 22, 2008

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KARACHI, April 21: Pakistan’s flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi said he would be aiming to better Brendon McCullum’s awe-inspiring 73-ball 158 when he makes his debut for Hyderabad Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Tuesday.

The swashbuckling right-hander left on Monday for India to play in the IPL and said McCullum’s knock was fresh in his mind.

McCullum scored 100 from 53 balls during his blazing innings for Kolkata Knight Riders against Bangalore Royal Challengers in the opening match of the IPL on Friday.

Afridi, who has since 1997 held on to the record for the fastest One-day hundred from just 37 balls, said he was itching to emulate or surpass McCullum’s innings. “It is a very difficult target to better his 158 at a faster rate. But it is not impossible. Certainly if I get a chance to bat higher up the order and get enough overs to play I will give it a try,” Afridi told reporters after the Twenty20 International against Bangladesh at the National Stadium on Monday.

Afridi will be available for the Deccan Chargers - led by Indian batsman VVS Laxman - for their game against Delhi Daredevils. “I have a reputation of being an exciting batsman and a fast scorer and big hitter. I wouldn’t like to disappoint my fans in the IPL which is twenty20 cricket and to my liking,” Afridi said.

Afridi who has appeared in 258 One-Day Internationals said he would love to also hold the record for the fastest century in Twenty20 cricket. “If I get a chance to open the innings or bat higher I will certainly give it a try. I am very proud of my record for the fastest One-day hundred.”

“The IPL is an exciting concept and I am very keen of leaving my mark in the tournament with bat and ball for my team,” Afridi stated.

Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik will also leave soon for Delhi to make himself available for the IPL match of his team.

—Agencies