Recently, the PSL announced the biggest trade in the short history of the tournament as Shahid Afridi moved from Peshawar Zalmi to Karachi Kings, with Zalmi swapping it’s picks with Karachi for the Gold and Silver rounds.
The trade has kickstarted the PSL-3 prehype a bit early, with the move giving us plenty to ponder. So Anam Nadeem and I decided to dissect Afridi’s move and see who’s done best out of it. Anam will bring a right brain creative type opinion while I be the analytical type, which would hopefully mean you have a complete picture of what the trade entails for all parties involved.
The PSL’s mega-move for Boom Boom Afridi is a win-win situation: Afridi wanted to leave Zalmi for personal reasons, while the Karachi Kings’ needed a superstar who could help them elevate their status and of course contribute with bat and ball.
Peshawar Zalmi won the last edition of the PSL and Afridi was an integral part of their setup throughout on and off the field. However, this trade will provide Zalmi with an opportunity to pick ahead in one round of Gold picks and two rounds of Silver picks. This is a huge deal for a team which was is supposed to pick second last in the draft throughout, but now has a shot to pick thrice at the number three spot in two categories. The reigning champions will be set to strengthen their squad further without having to worry about the top players not being available come their turn to pick.
Afridi wanted to leave Zalmi for personal reasons
If Afridi can carry forward his recent Natwest T20 form where he hit a maiden T20 century (101 off 42 balls) there is no stopping Karachi. Also, this move will help Karachi Kings’ connect with the crowd, as Afridi is the city’s most famous current cricketer, if not celebrity.
There will be days when Afridi doesn’t perform or throws his wicket away just when the supporters warm up to the occasion, but as we all know, there will never be another Boom Boom. Love him or hate him, once this superstar completely retires, the (cricket) world will be forever poorer without him.
The Shahid Afridi trade means that Peshawar Zalmi get the 3rd pick in the Gold Category and the Silver categories, which is an advantage given they won’t have to change their strategy a lot when it comes to their picks. Being 5th in the pick would have meant much more planning and more risks of not getting your desired player, something which they have managed to negate to some level with the trade.
Karachi Kings’ needed a superstar who could help them elevate their status
For Karachi Kings, they get Shahid Afridi, the superstar of Pakistan cricket, a marquee local player, a superstar, and a player who is (still) a really good T20 all rounder.
Traditional cricket numbers don’t do Shahid Afridi justice. Since 2016, his batting average is 17.98, runs which come at 9.77 RPO while in the PSL his average increases to 22 at 10.47 RPO. His bowling numbers though are more impressive, conceding 6.7 RPO with a wicket every 24 balls. In the PSL this becomes 6.66 RPO with a wicket every 32.5 balls.
To understand what makes Afridi’s numbers special, we need to see how 11 Afridis would do if they batted together. In the PSL, a team of Afridi’s would bat out the 20 overs losing 9 wickets but would score 209 runs. Since T20 games are won by the runs scored, these numbers are impressive. This matters even more so for Karachi Kings who score at 7.71 runs per over and desperately need more quick scorers in their side.
Another impressive feature of Shahid Afridi is his boundary ball percentage, which is 22.2%, second only to Sharjeel Khan at 22.4%. Afridi’s ability to score boundaries frequently, particularly 6s, means that his presence with the bat even for the duration of 10 balls could mean that he can change the course of the match.
A team of Afridi’s batting
Afridi’s bowling is also an asset to the side. While he hasn’t been picking wickets regularly since 2016, he makes sure that he does not concede too many runs either. Karachi Kings leaked 7.85 runs per over, joint second with Islamabad United.
Afridi has always been a handy bolwer
Afridi with the ball will bring in some much needed tight overs for his side, something which the Karachi Kings need.
A team of Afridi’s bowling
Written with Anam Nadeem