WT20: The day Pakistan seemed like a local team at Eden Gardens

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n of Pakistan is in action against Sri Lanka during the WT20 warm up match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. (Subhendu Ghosh/HT Photo)
Mohammad Hafeez of Pakistan in action against Sri Lanka during the WT20 warm up match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. (Subhendu Ghosh/HT Photo)
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‘Boom Boom’ went bust even before the roar over his arrival had stopped resonating on the Eden terraces on Monday. Oh, the tragedy of cricket being a one-ball game!
After Umar Akmal fell, Eden roared. Not because Sri Lankan bowler Thisara Perrera was that good, but because the man walking in was Shahid Afridi. This was something it would have done for Sachin Tendulkar, and still does for Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni or any Kolkata Knight Rider. It is something Eden does for one of its own.
Pakistan, that day, seemed like a local team.
Afridi came and went with the same briskness of purpose that has been his trademark over nearly two decades spent playing international cricket. The first ball he faced was a wide. The next was again aimed wide off the wicket, but ‘Boom Boom’ slashed it and got caught at the extra-cover boundary. With the ball his figures were 4-0-40-0. To say that it wasn’t a good day in office would be understating the obvious. Monday blues, maybe.
He did take a catch, running in to dismiss Lahiru Thirimane on an afternoon of cricket practice; Pakistan’s only such game going into the World T20 main round against Bangladesh on Wednesday. But Afridi is now much more than the numbers he logs on a cricket field. At least that’s what it was at Eden, where a few thousands fetched up.

HT