I have to admit to being very impressed with the way Shahid Afridi has handled and conducted himself during Pakistan’s impressive run to the world cup semi-finals.
I don’t mind admitting that prior to the start of the world cup, I thought that Afridi lacked the discipline and maturity to be captain, that he wasn’t responsible enough and couldn’t be taken seriously. Over the course of the tournament I am happy to say he has proved me wrong.
The pressure that Afridi must have been under in the build up to this game is probably like nothing he has ever experienced before. To have conducted himself in the professional manner that he has, shows just how far he has come as a cricketer and a person over the testing few months Pakistan cricket has just endured.
Afridi has shown maturity and has been very gracious and respectful. The most unexpected of all for me, is that he has been a great ambassador for his country, his complementary remarks towards India on their victory is a great example of this.
Also, to hear Afridi apologise for the defeat on Wednesday is a remarkable show of humility. I think he has gone beyond the call of duty there. Ok, so the fielding could have been better, as could the run chase. But to lose to India on home soil is no disgrace.
Pakistan can go home with their heads held high, I believe that as a team they have taken massive strides forward over the past 5 weeks. At the start of the competition I think they would have regarded reaching a semi-final as a great result, not many pundits would have given them much chance of achieving that.