Former Pakistan National Cricket Team captain Salman Butt has asked why the former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi didn’t open the innings for his side and batted at No.6 and No.7 during Misbah-ul-Haq’s tenure as skipper.
Shahid Afridi, who is regarded as one of the best Pakistani players of all time, played 524 international cricket games while scoring 11196 runs and picking up 541 wickets. Over the years, Afridi was shifted to the lower middle order due to his attacking approach with the bat.
Recently, Butt spoke about Afridi not being handed the opportunity to open the innings during the time when attacking batters like Adam Gilchrist and Sanath Jayasuriya used to open the innings for their respective teams.
“Your brand of cricket is inducted if the player is ready to give it all. You look at Gilchrist, Kaluwitharna, Jayasuriya, who started it… they used to open the innings.
“When Misbah’s tenure began, Shahid Afridi used to play at 6-7. Why didn’t he open the innings? Who stopped him? He spoke on TV, ‘kaptaan bata dein, main hu ya ye hai’,” Butt said on Cric Bridge.
“Player couldn’t take the decision about themselves. But Shahid bhai could. He was himself the captain for 2 years. Why didn’t he go as an opener then?”
“He didn’t want to go,” said Butt.
Shahid Afridi opened the innings with me against India. That time, they didn’t have an express pace attack – Salman Butt
The anchor of the show pinpointed that Afridi did open for Pakistan with Butt during the Pakistan tour of India in 2005. Salman Butt said that Afridi opened during that tour because Team India didn’t have the express pacers in their bowling unit. He also said that the former all-rounder used to “pick and choose” his batting position.
“Against Indian bowling during those days, Saeed Anwar and Aamir Sohail didn’t use to wear helmets while opening. Topiyaan pehenke unko maar rahe hote the. (They used to hit them wearing caps).
“He opened the innings with me against India. That time, they didn’t have an express pace attack. Shahid bhai didn’t open everywhere. In Australia, South Africa, he didn’t open. He used to pick and choose. He opened in ideal condition, and where the condition was difficult… it was pick and choose,” Butt stated.