Whenever a sports reporter, be it from the electronic or the print media, starts reporting on a player or a match, he/she normally has an arsenal of statistics to use for his/her report. They love to dig out different numbers and statistics from the dusted pages of history to support their ‘cause’. Very few names can be taken out from this field which can be considered as ‘neutral’ sports eporters/analysts. Most of them have some hidden agenda or the other. Very few readers would know that just like the Pakistan Cricket Team, the Pakistani Sports journalist community is also bitterly divided into different lobbies.
Some support particular players/selectors/coaches from a particular city while some also fall into the ethnicity formation, then there are also some who would support their players who act as their ‘moles’ in the team and help those reporters to get the inside news from the dressing room. When you read a particular report and analyze what or how that particular reporter/analyst has outlined his report, you will easily be able to ‘smell’ the agenda behind that report.
Recently Shahid Afridi was omitted from the one-day squad for the series against India. The social-media and the main-stream media was full of people who expressed themselves with every word in the dictionary to support or oppose this decision. Lets me give you an example:
“Boom Boom (Yeah that has to be a part of the name) Shahid Afridi” or “Maya-Naz All-rounder” (Impressive All-rounder) Shahid Afridi, who has captained the Pakistani team in many matches (18 ODIs to be precise) and has taken 348 wickets in 349 matches (yeah that’s less than 1 wicket per match) and scored more than 7000 runs in ODIs (at an avg of 23.34 runs/match). Against India, this all-rounder has a best bowling figure of 4/20 in an ODI match (which was 8 years ago in 2004) and his highest score against the arch-rival is 109 (on 19 Sept 1998, more than 14 years ago). When playing in India against the home team our team could have used the services of the experienced player who could have taken the pressure comfortably (Total 16 matches against India in India: Pick up the last 5 matches and he has a batting avg of 18.4 runs and a bowling economy rate of 5.70 per over in which he has picked up only 2 wickets, so talking about taking pressure doesn’t really suit here). Afridi though has been going through a rough patch recently could have been able to pick up his form if he had been given the chance (Since 1st match of the ODI World Cup in 2011 his batting avg has been 17.57, he hasn’t scored a fifty in the last 10 ODIs and has taken 7 wickets only in these 10 ODIs).”
Now either you can ignore the statistics in the brackets or use them to support the anti-Afridi argument – that totally depends which side of the table you are sitting. You can never deny that Shahid Afridi has surely been a match-winner but there is always an end to a great career; people who have realized this about this player are increasing with every passing day, the question is when will he understand this himself?