It wasn’t that is was the best (ghost) written autobiography out there. It wasn’t that it was about one of our most popular cricketers ever. What makes it such an interesting read was that it comes off as if he gives no f$%*s about anything . Which is a little annoying, but dramatically entertaining. And we’re aren’t the only one’s entertained by it. Game Changer has been in the news cycle ever since it came out, and not just here. He’s been making headlines in our neighboring India for all the comments he’s made.
But who has time to read a book these days? Well, luckily for the both of us, I get paid to do this. So I sat down to read the 200 so pages, and here’s everything in the book;
Officially Shahid Afridi date of birth was in 1980. However, he revealed that he is actually born in 1975. This may seem like a minor detail, but given how sports tournaments are age related (Under 17’s), it’s a little shady. But then, let’s take into account his records. When Afridi smashed a 37-ball century against Sri Lanka in 1996, he not only registered the fastest-ever one-day ton, he also became the youngest player to score 100 runs in an international. “For the record, I was just nineteen, and not sixteen like they claim,” he writes in “Game Changer”. This means he wasn’t the youngest player to do that, which is fine, but takes away from the person who actually is the youngest.
Gautam Gambhir is definitely not Afridi’s biggest fan. If you missed their Twitter battle when they called each other crazy, then I beg you to go check it out. That fight began because in the book, Shahid goes on to insult Gautam. He calls Gambhir “a burn out who had attitude problems”. Recalling their confrontation, he says: “I remember that run-in with him in 2007 tour when he completed a single while running straight into me. The umpires had to finish it off or I would have,” he said.
He also calls Javed Miandad, Pakistan’s most successful Test batsman, “a small man” in the book. He accuses him of not giving him batting practice before the Chennai Test in which he scored a century to help Pakistan to a 12-run victory. He called Waqar Younis a “mediocre captain but a terrible coach.”
You’d expect a book about a cricketer to talk more about cricket. He glances over his biggest cricket moments, like Nairobi. He wrote that: “I padded up. I went in. I stopped the first ball. Then I hit the second ball for six. After that I don’t remember much about what unfolded.”
On that near-reprise in Kanpur in 2005, the first time many people might have begun to comprehend how Nairobi happened got a century in Kanpur and took the pressure off our bowlers.” In talking about Pakistan’s record against India in World Cup matches, Afridi says it is “Pakistan’s very own Curse of the Bambino, though I’m confident we won’t take as long to break it as the Boston Red Sox did.”
Afridi revealed in his autobiography that he was aware of the malpractices by teammates Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif before the 2010 spot-fixing scandal broke out. He revealed that when he raised it with the team management, the inaction caused him frustration leading to his stepping down from the Test captaincy and eventually retiring from the longest format of the game. “Yes. For the record, I gave up. I quit.”
Afridi said he become aware of suspicious conversations between then player agent Mazhar Majeed, who was at the centre of the scandal, and players who were eventually accused during the 2010 Asia Cup in Sri Lanka. Afridi elaborated how he tried to alert the Pakistan team officials about conversations, but no action was taken.
In a surprising reveal, Shahid Afridi talks about how he doesn’t allow his daughters to play outside. He says that they can play whatever they want, as long as it’s inside the house. I’m not going to spend any more time on this hypocrisy, so you can go and read our article on it.
As you can tell, Afridi is pretty conservative these days. But back in his youth, Afridi had a bit of a playboy reputation. He decided to give us a little glimpse into it, but not the way anyone wanted or expected.
One time he started up a little phone romance in the ’90s with this girl. He spent a lot of money on his mobile phone, chatting to her. And then he wanted to meet her. And then he invited her to his house one Eid with his parents around. And then she turned up with a bouquet of roses and then it turned out that she was a 15- or 16-year-old boy who had heard that Afridi only speaks to girls on the phone and so had pretended all along to be a girl. And so Afridi invited him in for tea. Endearing ending, but a little weird. Actually, pretty weird. What was that boy thinking?
Well, not anytime soon. He reveals that he has no political aspirations, for now. He thinks it’s a dirty business, that he has no desire to be a part of. He also thinks Imran Khan’s style of leadership is “abrasive”. However, he loves politics. He literally talks about it all over the book as if he was a politician. In the last chapter, he brings solutions for Kashmir and Pakistan-India, the civil-military imbalance in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In an earlier chapter he’s already sorted out the PCB. He clearly loves politics. Speaking of which…
Well who doesn’t love the army? They’re pretty cool. They keep us safe and all. But you’d expect a book about a cricketer to talk more about cricket, but I digress. Shahid Afridi talks about the army at multiple points during the book. By way of explaining army coups in Pakistan, Afridi says they only step in once there is a vacuum created by the democrats. Just like when Inzamam-ul-Haq had to bowl a few overs in matches where the bowlers weren’t doing their job. It was a pretty interesting and inaccurate statement.