Monday, June 22, 2009

Dream debut

Everyone has had that dream and there is no way anyone would deny it. Anyone who has ever played a sport even at the street level knows what I am talking about. It doesn't really matter if their sporting experience was only plastic ball cricket in the narrow confines of a lane or 3 a side soccer inside what would constitute just the D of a full size soccer ground. The television switches on and the best in the business take the stage with thousand of crazed fans hollering their deities' names. With every cracking shot of Tendulkar's or with every sublime pass of Zidane's, the casual player dreams. Dreams of walking out to the centre of the roaring stadium for the first time, an unknown name and playing a magic record breaking innings or scoring the most sensational goal of all time. The stadium going berserk and the halo of adulation shining bright behind his head, a legend being born, a name forever etched in glowing letters on the wall of fame.

And there is someone who has actually lived that impossible dream of every sportsman or wanna-be sportsman in the world. 16 year old Shahid Afridi, a little known name finds his place in the Pakistani cricket team purely as a leg spinner. 4th October, 1996: Pakistan v/s Sri Lanka and it is Afridi's 3rd international match but it is the first time he has had a chance to bat. He is sent in as a pinch hitter to hit 30-40 quickfire runs.

So what does he do? He goes on to smash the fastest century of all time (37 balls) ON DEBUT! Against the likes of wily stalwarts like Muralitharan, Jayasuriya (co-incidentally the guy whose record he broke) and Dharmasena. Afridi's cricket career has slid downwards from that day on but boy, could he or for that matter anyone who has ever held a cricket bat in his hands have asked for an entry more glorious.

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