Shahid Afridi’s age has always been a topic of contention. It also launched a thousand memes way back before memes were a thing. Over the years, many believed that Afridi is older than he claims to be. Let’s face it, before Aadhar, most parents deemed it judicious to decrease their children’s age to ensure that their child gets more chances to apply for government jobs or a better chance in sports.
Afridi’s latest revelation in his autobiography ‘Game Changer’ about his age ends the debate once and for all. At the same time it confuses us a bit too. “Also, for the record, I was just nineteen, and not sixteen like they claim. I was born in 1975. So, yes, the authorities stated my age incorrectly.”
Afridi claims that he was born in 1975 and 19 years of age when he made his debut. However, he made his debut on October 2, 1996. As far as basic mathematics is concerned, Afridi should have been 21 years old when he made his debut. Maybe he should have used a calculator before writing that down or it is just a typographical error. Nevertheless, it’s confusing.
Currently, Afridi holds the record for youngest batsman to score a century in ODIs. According to the records, he was 16 years and 217 days old when he scored his famous then-fastest century against Sri Lanka in his debut ODI innings.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the news:
So if Shahid Afridi was born in 1975:
He made his Pakistan debut at the age of 21
He made his Test debut at the age of 23
He retired from international cricket at the age of 43
He played his last ODI at the age of 40
At the moment he is 44
Age is just a number #Cricket
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) May 2, 2019
This is probably going to be my favourite story of the day. Week. Month. Shahid Afridi never fails to entertain.https://t.co/URXviFDVik
— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) May 2, 2019
He was 19 when he scored that century in 1996 and yet he was born in 1975.
It’s official! He has no clue what he’s saying.
— Ananth (@JRooney24) May 2, 2019
Probably the worst kept “secret” in international cricket!
— Mahadevan Parameswaran (@empeewarren) May 2, 2019
The best reaction to the news
And even in his own book he gives two different ages for his debut…
Shahid Afridi is not a person. He is a timeless, ageless concept.
— Nakul Pande (@NakulMPande) May 2, 2019
Funny thing is, on the TV coverage of that innings at Nairobi, he was listed as 21. Think it only changed to 16 after someone questioned what he was doing playing for Pakistan U19s the previous month. https://t.co/T6VYWxIgmG
— Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) May 2, 2019
It’s only fair
Time to scrap some of those records he earned for doing stuff at a younger age to everyone else.
— Vayn Holden (@Vayn20) May 2, 2019
Hew knew it all along
Geoffrey boycott stands vindicated. He had said if he is 16, I am 25
— Abhishek Apte (@abhiapte82) May 3, 2019
If we add 5 years to the destructive batsman’s age, he 21 when he achieved that feat. That puts him in 30s on the list of youngest ODI centurions. This makes Afghanistan batsman Usman Ghani the youngest ODI centurion (17 years and 242 days).
Afridi also claims that Pakistan officials lied about his age. It is also to be noted that he represented the Pakistan Under-19 team just weeks before his international debut.
If the youngest ODI centurion list is updated, Afridi will be ranked below Indian batsmen Vinod Kambli (21 years, 0 days), Virat Kohli (21 years, 49 days), Yuvraj Singh (21 years, 120 days), Sachin Tendulkar (21 years, 138 days) and Suresh Raina (21 years, 211 days).
However, there is a flip-side to this revelation too. He played his last T20I for Pakistan when he was 43-year-old which makes him one of the oldest players to play international cricket. Also, he is still playing Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the age of 44 and hasn’t revealed his retirement plans yet.