A gas cylinder exploded, everyone got distracted: Afridi on tampering pitch in 2005

A gas cylinder exploded, everyone got distracted: Afridi on tampering pitch in 2005

Shahid Afridi was banned for one Test and two ODIs on pitch-tampering charges after he admitted to damage the wicket in a Test against England in 2005.

Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi was widely regarded as one of the most explosive batters during his prime years in international cricket. Afridi held the record for the fastest century in ODIs for over 17 years when he smashed a 37-ball hundred against Sri Lanka in 1996. He also emerged as a lethal spinner for the side, ending his international career with 395 ODI wickets to his name, and 98 dismissals in T20Is.

However, Afridi's career also saw a fair share of controversies. In 2005, the former Pakistan captain was banned for one Test and two ODIs on pitch-tampering charges. Afridi had damaged the pitch with his boots during a game against England in Faislabad, and over 17 years later, the former all-rounder revisited the controversy, revealing the incidents that led to him damaging the pitch.

Afridi revealed that he took advantage of a gas cylinder explosion to damage the pitch, and also recalled a conversation with Pakistan star Shoaib Malik before eventually tampering with the wicket.

“It was a good series. That Test was in Faislabad. Believe me, it was a Test and the ball was neither turning, nor it was getting any swing or seam. It was getting quite boring. I was applying my full force and nothing was happening. Then suddenly, a gas cylinder exploded and eveyone got distracted. I told Malik, 'Mera dil chaah raha hai main idhar patch bana du. Ball toh turn ho!' (I want to create a patch on this pitch so badly. I want the ball to turn!),” Afridi said on Samaa TV.

A gas cylinder exploded, everyone got distracted: Afridi on tampering pitch in 2005
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“Shoaib Malik replied, 'Kar de. Koi nai dekh raha' (Do it, no one is watching). So I did that! And then, what happened is history. When I look back at it, you do realise it was a mistake,” Afridi further said, as he passed a chuckle.

Afridi represented Pakistan in 27 Tests, 398 ODIs, and 99 T20Is. Malik, meanwhile, continues to remain an active cricketer but is currently out-of-favour with the Pakistan side, having last made an international appearance in a T20I against Bangladesh in November 2021.

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