Shahid Afridi’s autobiography, ‘Game Changer’, could well be an image changer of one of the finest all-rounders the game has produced. He has joined the list of writers who seemed to believe that stirring up controversies through references to an incident or a bad remark on a teammate or a famous cricketer can result in their book being sold like hot cakes.
Today, due to the ever-buzzing social media, a small adverse remark on any famous cricketer can do the job of marketing the book, more like a free advertisement!
Afridi’s teammate Shoaib Akhtar had shown how controversies can boost the sales of an autobiography. In fact, Akhtar had named his book ‘Controversially Yours’ and belittled Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid as no match-winners and that Tendulkar was scared of genuine pace.
Afridi has also done the same by ignoring Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni from his all-time World XI. It is likely that Afridi may also back track like Akhtar did on Tendulkar after the book becomes a best-seller. It is little wonder that Akhtar now feels that all the negative remarks by Afridi on his seniors are true, and that he should have revealed more.
Afridi is a hero to the legion of his fans, who earned the nickname ‘Boom Boom Afridi’ for his style of the game. Through this book, his image as a hero could well take a hit. To write negatively on Waqar Younis, Aamir Sohail, Javed Miandad and even Imran Khan was unwarranted. By doing so, he has tarnished the image of Pakistan cricket, and clearly not emerged as a cricketer with genuine devotion to the game.
In his book, Afridi has revealed that he had lied about his age. How would anyone then believe what has been written in his book, especially by a player who always played by fudging his real age?
Autobiographies are meant to inspire youngsters; but Afridi’s autobiography could well be avoided by youngsters. Instead of writing about the greatness of the players he played with, like Sunil Gavaskar did in his book ‘Idols’, Afridi has literally painted all greats with a brush of negativity. His statement that his daughters will not be allowed to play cricket also reveals the myopic attitude of this hero — who has been often been appointed as an ambassador of many tournaments.
Afridi’s book joins the list of autobiographies to be avoided by youngsters like Ian Botham’s ‘Head On’ in which he confesses smoking marijuana, and Herschelle Gibbs’ ‘To the Point’ where he accused all teammates of smoking marijuana and belittled them all.
The only way one could justify Afridi’s revelations is that he has always been a maverick, and that this is an autobiography from an eccentric genius, who should be hailed for his cricketing skills and not his intelligence.