Person of the Week: Shahid Afridi

Sports

Person of the Week: Shahid Afridi

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza

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here are two golden rules in cricket. One, never take your eyes off the ball. Two, keep your nose out of politics. If Imran Khan’s political career or Sachin Tendulkar’s Rajya Sabha attendance record are any indication, the two rarely mix well. None of that seemed to affect Shahid Afridi this week, as he stirred up a hornet’s nest when he decided to tweet about the delicate political situation in Kashmir. Afridi is famous for two things – faking retirement and always doing the unexpected, so despite stiff competition from the only Tiger to be brought down by a blackbuck, he is a natural choice for Person of the Week.

On Twitter, Afridi called for UN intervention in “India-occupied Kashmir” to stop the “killing of innocents”. This single tweet had the power to unite the Indian cricketing fraternity faster than the lure of a fat IPL contract. Leading the charge was Gautam Gambhir, another cricketer who refuses to acknowledge that politics and the sport are strange bedfellows. Seeing as how Gambhir legitimately believes beating Pakistan in a cricket match is revenge for 26/11, it’s not surprising he was the first to call Afridi out. In his response, he called Afridi retarded, taunted him about the dubious U-19 status he enjoyed in his early playing years, and worked in a cricket metaphor as well, proving Gautam Gambhir is much more versatile on Twitter than he ever was at the crease.

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