There’s some outrage and lots of ridicule on twitter and Facebook today about Afridi’s comments on TV after Pakistan’s lost to Zimbabwe in the second Test.
And some more on Facebook, such as here.
I saw the comments live on Geo and thought Afridi was pretty tepid, specially compared to Safaraz Nawaz etc. Then I started reading the “quotes” originating from PakPassion. I don’t know if it was just a bad translation job (possible because they translated “players ko confidence dena” to “taking players into confidence”) or something more creative, but some of the quotes were pulled out of thin air. Most importantly, this one:
Afridi never actually said this. In fact he didn’t make any comment on Misbah’s captaincy and even the comments attributed to him about his willingness to accept the captaincy himself are quoted completely out of context.
Here is a link to the actual interview, thanks to Hassan Malik:
The video clip starts off with some behind-the-scenes footage of the host fixing his tie and asking the crew how he looks, that’s about the most controversial thing that happens for the next half hour.
And here’s an English transcript of the same, translations (and errors) mine:
Host: Pak lost to Zim after 15 years in a ODI and a Test, what can you say?
Afridi: Cricket history is filled with such performances. Small teams defeat big teams all the time. In a T20 or ODI it can get tough to make a comeback, but in a Test you have more time to recover. But these things happen, bari bari cheezain hoti hain.
Host: One day we play very well, the next day we suddenly lose terribly as if they don’t know how to play. How can we see a minimum of such days when fans cry?
Afridi: These things will continue. The way our system is, they will continue. You will have to do new things. Domestic cricket, I’ve been saying for a while, a lot of people have in fact (we need to make it strong). I don’t know why we’re interested in bringing foreign cricketers to Pakistan. We should make our domestic cricket strong, have zabardast, tagray tournaments in Pakistan. Don’t have them in Karachi and Lahore, where nobody comes to watch, have them in small cities so you can fill the stadiums. The crowds will come, the sponsors will come, money will come, a positive message will go out that cricket is going so well in Pakistan. There should be a plan and it should be followed. You should spend money on your domestic cricketers, everything will be fine. It’s not the Kashmir issue, it can be solved. There should be a united goal and it should be about Pakistan. This is my request – it should be about Pakistan, not your personal angles.
Host: If Misbah does tuk-tuk, the match goes away from Pakistan. If you get emotional and step out of the crease, people also point fingers at you. What’s the deal, would you like to say something?
Afridi: Let Misbah do tuk-tuk and let me play freely!
Host: You have to say something!
Afridi: Hahaha. Look, everyone has their own strength. Every player should play to their strengths. Confidence should be given (to the player) from the captain, the management, the coach – specially the coach. I think it’s important that confidence should be given (to the player). If someone plays the wrong shot, or plays too many balls, doesn’t score enough, it’s the job of the coach to at least sit with him and talk. We have to come a bit stronger. I think we need a bit of the stick with the carrot. Humay pyaar ke saath saath danday ki bhi zaroorat hai. This is what I think…
Host: You’re Pakistan’s favourite player but there are some people in the board who don’t like you. I would say “who cares?” but would you like to say something about them or about yourself?
Afridi: Look, thankfully, respect is in God’s hands. I’ve been playing with respect, and I want to continue playing with respect, good intentions and honesty for whatever cricket is left in me.
I’m not understanding (what’s going on with?) the Chairman Sahab. It seems like he has no powers in his hands. Poor thing isn’t able to do anything. He was bringing a new selection committee when Iqbal Bhai (Iqbal Qasim) left, and Moin Khan as chief selector, but he wasn’t able to do that. I heard a couple of his interviews and it seemed like he wanted to take a few decisions, but he wasn’t able to. I don’t know what their constitution says or what the courts say. Mujhay nahi pata kay kya storiyaan hain. But if he’s the chairman he should at least have the right to his powers, so he can take decisions. He’s learned a lot about who is working and who’s not, and who’s only picking up his salary. I think the board should give the chairman powers so that he can work freely, keep the useful, hard-working people in the board and sideline the ones who aren’t working.
Host: We lost to Zimbabwe but there shouldn’t be a blame game. Kick this one out, keep that one. Should we keep a combination of young players and seniors or stick to the seniors?
Afridi: I think we were playing Zimbabwe as if we were playing South Africa, England or Australia. Yaar, look at your level. The Pakistan team has a level. Played so well in the West Indies. You should lift yourself up and play. We totally went down to Zimbabwe’s level and played (that level of) cricket, be it ODI, T20 or Test match. We played cricket at their level. No! That’s not our level, our level, thank God, is much higher and we should have played accordingly. Unn ko theek thaak maar kay aana chahiyay tha hamay.
Host: Shahid, think carefully before answering this one. Many fingers are being raised against the foreign coach. If we speak of local coaches, your experience with Waqar Younis was quite bitter, ended up losing your captaincy. What would you say, if you are given a major responsibility for Pakistan cricket in 2015, will you accept it? [Aap kya kahen gay, Pakistan cricket kay liyay agar 2015 mai agar aap ko koi bari zimmedari di jati hai, toh aap iss ko labbaik kahain gay ya nahi]?
Afridi: Look, the first thing is, playing for Pakistan for me is still – it’s been 16, 17 years of playing – it’s still an honour for me. Whenever there is any thing, I’m always available for the Pakistan team, always, in any form. [Aur kabhi bhi koi bhi aisi cheez ho, hamesha Pakistan team kay liyay haazir hoon, bilkul haazir hoon, kisi bhi form mai haazir hoon.]
As far as what you said about the coaches is concerned, I think I am really in favour of Inzi bhai. We should have a batting coach who is respected, so that even if he needs to be stern with someone, he is able to because he is respected. [Jo agar kisi ko aankhain bhi dikhayen toh dikha sakhain, unn ki ek respect ho]. He has the respect (of the players) so the dressing room atmosphere is also (going to be) great because of him. A batsman comes after playing a (bad) shot, getting out, no worries (koi fikar nahi, koi faqa nahi), sits around, the joking and laughing resume. There should be pressure on batsmen. I think if Inzi Bhai is given the responsibility of batting, as a batting coach, not a head coach, I think batsmen will learn a lot and also there will be pressure on them to not play needless (fazool idhar udhar) shots.
[end of interview]
If anyone from PakPassion is reading this, I’ll quote the host from the beginning of the show here: “Iss ko kaisay banao gay?”