Shahid Afridi...so what is the 'point' !
Although I am following the ODI series quite well despite not being keen on it as much as the test series, I should stay that some interesting things are happening. But most of it is not exactly related to cricket field directly.
I promised someone that I would write on Afridi, and write about some things that are 'good'about him. Frankly, a couple of years back I would have loved to watch one of these Afridi innings, however infrequent they might be, rather than watch most of Rahul Dravid innings. For ODIs are all about satiation of cricketing desires in a short span, aren't they. Those who want more have test matches. More of that later, but first Afridi...
Ofcourse he is an entertainer, and ofcourse you cant but sit back and enjoy when he is hitting, even if your own team. Even Dravid and Sachin were seen almost enjoying him in full swing. The best part about his play is that you can 'see' him not thinking ! I dont know any other cricketer playing such emotional game in my times (and I'm sure there couldnt have been anyone earlier, 'cause merciless hitting was invented during these times only). His game is so expectedly unexpected that someone who is at the receiving end is taken by surprise for a while. And before he can recover...bang...he is 100 notout :-)) The point that he is able to do this so infrequently (3 centuries in almost 7-8 years of game) means that most of those who are at receiving end have first experience of it.
So Balaji/Mongia etc started with the thought...ok he's hit this one...he would be more cautious next time....ok this one again disappeared...but what about next time...ok now he is close to century..maybe more cautious....etc.etc..and it goes on...till he's out. I am sure each of these bowlers would be better prepared next time. But then that next time is anyway far off isnt it :-) (ohh, I'm hoping it is!). And Javagal Srinath pointed out well here that his captain and coach must be exactly sure of his hit ratio to take this gamble.
But the bigger point is....what is the point of this kind of hitting ? Sure cricketing entertainment means runs scored, wickets taken, matches won and lost. But is there some logic behind it...when you constantly see good length balls from