Veteran Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi returned to cricket after a gap of three months, representing Paktia Panthers in the Afghanistan Premier League 2018. The 38-year-old, who was signed as a marquee player for the franchise, flopped with the bat and ball, scoring 1 run and going wicketless in his four overs. The leg-spinner also conceded over 13 runs per over in his franchise's three-wicket defeat to Kabul Zwanan.
Fans on Twitter were quick to slam Afridi and questioned the former Pakistan all-rounder's decision to make a comeback.
SHAHID AFRIDI WHAT A PLAY IN AFGANISTAN LEAGUE— Qurbanali (@Qurbana48220890) October 6, 2018
Afghanis bashing Shahid Afridi as if he is a baby bowler. Pathetic decision by Lala to play directly after almost 8 months.#APLT20— Yasir Khalil (@mryasirkhalil) October 5, 2018
Meanwhile, when Shahid Afridi stepped into bat, the APL 2018 commentators hailed the 38-year-old for still looking young and fit.
Commentators at the opening ceremony of Afghanistan Premier League"Here is Shahid Afridi 38 Years young these days.He is getting younger and younger.Still looking very fit.Very agile.He has got tremendous abilities we all know.He is iconic player in Pakistan cricket and World" pic.twitter.com/D28Sb0yF12— Maham. (@DheetAfridian) October 6, 2018
In the match, asked to bat, Paktia Panthers skipper Mohammad Shahzad led from the front, scoring 67 runs. He was helped along by Sikandar Raza, who remained unbeaten on 78 to help their side post a mammoth 218 runs at the loss four wickets.
However, Kabul Zwanan, courtesy of an unbeaten 79-run knock from England's Laurie Evans, chased down the target with five balls to spare.
Afridi made his last appearance in the Global T20 Canada, representing the Edmonton Royals franchise. He had a dismal run in that league as well scoring just 1, 5, 2 and an unbeaten 13.
Afridi has represented Pakistan in 27 Tests, 398 ODIs and 99 T20Is. He has over 8,000 ODI runs and 395 wickets under his belt from 398 matches.