Pakistan star all-rounder Shahid Afridi is well known for his fireworks on the field as he is for his actions off it.
Afridi is not only one of the most beloved cricketers in the world, his charity work with the Shahid Afridi Foundation has made him a popular figure outside the cricketing world as well.
On Saturday, Afridi gave his numerous fans more reasons to adore him as he posted an image of him cradling a deer and feeding it, with the message: “Don’t forget to take care of animals, they too deserve our love and care.”
However, what caught the eye was the second image posted in the same tweet by Afridi which showed his daughter celebrating with arms aloft next to a lion inside a residence.
Other images and videos surfaced showing Afridi standing next to the lion inside a household.
The South African had laid down the gauntlet to young leg-spinner Shadab Khan before the start of the team’s tour of Ireland and England. According to a report by Geo TV, Arthur had challenged Shadab to improve his batting on the tour. The 19-year-old had then told the coach that he would score three half-centuries in as many matches.
And that is exactly what Shadab did as the leg-spinner went on to register a half-century in each of the three Tests against Ireland and England.
In the one-off Test against Ireland in Dublin, the youngster rescued Pakistan from a perilous position in the first-innings with a maiden half-century (55). Shadab could be seen raising one finger towards the Pakistan dressing room indicating he had crossed the first hurdle.
At Lord’s against England in the first Test, Shadab repeated his feat with a knock of 52 in Pakistan’s nine-wicket win over the hosts. Here again, the leg-spinner raised two fingers towards the dressing room while completing the milestone.
In the second and final Test at Headingley, Shadab made it three fifties in three matches with a 56-run knock in the first innings. This time too, he would raise three fingers towards the dressing room indicating that the job had been done.
“He (Shadab) did what he said he would,” Arthur was quoted as saying after he honoured the bet and took the team out for dinner.
Pakistan are now scheduled to play two T20Is against Scotland at Edinburgh on June 12 and 13 to wrap up their extensive tour of the UK.
England bounced back from their nine-wicket thrashing at Lord’s to beat Pakistan by an innings and 55 runs in the second Test at Headingley on Sunday to square up the two-match series at 1-1.
Despite that chastening defeat, Sarfraz remained in a bullish mood with Pakistan’s progress over the summer which also included an one-off Test against Ireland at Dublin.
“When we came here people thought we will not win one game but the way we played at Lord’s everything was perfect, our fast bowling was perfect, our batting and fielding were perfect,” Sarfraz said after the defeat on Sunday.
“It’s disappointing that we had a chance to win the series but unfortunately we didn’t play well here,” he added.
Pakistan pacer Mohammad Abbas finished as the highest wicket-taker from either side in the series with 10 wickets while young leg-spinner Shadab Khan recorded three half-centuries in three Tests. Sarfraz reserved special praise for the two players in his post-match comments.
“I am proud of my young team, the way Abbas is bowling, Shadab is doing well, Faheem Ashraf did well, so I’m really disappointed that we didn’t win [at Headingley] but 1-1 is good for us,” he stated.
While the form of the youngsters was highly encouraging, the display of some senior squad members including Azhar Ali and Sarfraz himself fell way short of expectations. Sarfraz acknowledged his own poor-show and expressed confidence in Azhar finding form again.
“Azhar is our main batsman, it’s correct he is not in good nick but he scored a good fifty at Lord’s. I am not satisfied with my batting in the series. I committed mistakes and played a few bad shots,” the Pakistan skipper explained.
Pakistan will now embark for Edinburgh where they are slated to play two T20Is against Scotland on June 12 and 13.