Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world after football. The game is valued for its teamwork and memorable partnerships on the field. But one of the key unspoken associations is between the cricketers and their fans, who come to the stadium with the hope of watching their heroes outclass the opponents.
Former Pakistan cricketer Younis Khan revealed one such incident when aficionados wanted him to throw away his wicket to see their apple of the eye former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi bat.
Adumbrating the event’s details, Younis stated that he was probably batting on 150, and his teammate Mohammad Yousuf had piled around 170 runs from the other end. Both the veteran batters were heading towards their double tons when Pakistan supporters started a clamour to send either of the batters back to the pavilion.
“Mohammad Yousuf was batting on 170, and I was probably on 150. And we were playing against India. Suddenly people start shouting ‘please get Younis Khan out, please dismiss Mohammad Yousuf,'” Younis said as quoted by Hindustan Times.
Amazed at first, Pakistan’s incumbent batting coach couldn’t decipher the reason behind such a shocking move. It was only when his partner Yousuf lost his wicket that the former comprehended the crowd wanting their explosive batter Afridi on the crease.
“I was amazed that I was about to get to 200 and we are playing against India in Pakistan but people are chanting. They basically wanted Shahid Afridi in the crease,” the Mardan-born recollected.
Concluding the interview, Younis shared that Afridi heaped a string of boundaries and sixes as soon as he arrived on the crease, which enthralled the spectators. But the onlookers left the ground as soon their hero departed, leaving Younis no admirers while nearing his double century.
“Shahid Afridi came to the crease. Hit a few sixes here and there and got out. Amazingly, the crowd left with him. They got value for their money. But here I was nearing a double hundred in front of an empty stand,” Younis remarked.
Though the 43-year old didn’t divulge many details of the game, it is widely speculated that the encounter he was referring to was played against India way back in 2006 since it was the only Test match where both Yousuf and Younis stroked a masterclass century against their neighbours.
The rain-marred game continued for five days and ended in a draw as India lost just one wicket in their first innings.