There’s a reason why Shahid Afridi is nicknamed as ‘Boom Boom’ by his fans.
Celebrating his 37th birthday, all-rounder Afridi announced his international retirement last month but will go down as one of Pakistan’s gifted cricketers to take to the field.
During his time, he has played some astonishing innings in major competitions around the world thanks to his aggressive batting style.
It didn’t take him long to announce himself on the big stage, making headlines as a 16-year-old, when he set a ODI-record 37-ball ton in his first innings.
He went on to captain the national team in all formats, but it was in T20s, where Afridi began to enjoy his best days.
He holds the record of most wickets (97) and most player-of-the match awards and has more than 500 wickets and 23,000 international runs to his name.
Other sport stars born on this day
1952: Martin O’Neill, coach of Ireland and former Leicester City and Sunderland manager (65).
1953: Carlos Queiroz, current manager of Iran and exassistant for Manchester United (64).
1983: Anthony Tupou, Australian professional rugby league footballer for Newcastle Knights (34).
1989: Carlos Vela, Mexican and former Arsenal footballer who plays for Real Socieded (28).
Goalkeeping great Dino Zoff is the only Italian player to have won both the World Cup and the European Championships, having claimed the 1968 European title with the Azzurri before becoming the oldest World Cup winner in 1982, where he captained his nation to glory and was also named goalkeeper of the tournament – aged 40.
Zoff, 75 today, played the majority of his club career with Turin giants Juventus, where he won six Serie A titles, two Coppa Italias and a UEFA Cup, while also finishing runner-up in two European Cup finals. He finished second to Johan Cruyff in the 1973 Ballon d’Or.
With 112 caps, he is the fifth-most capped player for the Azzurri, whom he also went on to manage after retiring, finishing second at Euro 2000. He also managed Juve to the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia double in the 1989/90 season.
Other sports stars born on this day:
1940: Mario Andretti, American race car driver who won the 1978 F1 title. Also raced in IndyCar and NASCAR (77).
1961: Barry McGuigan, Irish boxer and former WBA and lineal featherweight champion. Record of 32-3 (56).
1973: Eric Lindros, ex-ice hockey player for the Philadelphia Flyers. Won Olympic gold with Canada in 2002 (44).
1985: Jelena Jankovic, Serbian former world No1 tennis player. Reached the 2008 US Open final (32).
South Africa’s outstanding player of the 20th century and arguably the best left-hand batsman the game has ever produced celebrates his 73rd birthday today.
Graeme Pollock only played 23 Tests, but ‘The Little Dog’ showed enough tenacity and class in those games to place him in the conversation with the all-time greats.
His score of 274 against Australia was for a long time a Test record for South Africa.
A powerful batsman, he possessed a natural timing of the ball.
His career Test match batting average of 60.97 remains second only to Sir Donald Bradman. Pollock scored his maiden first-class century at just 16 and then notched his first Test hundred at 19 against the Aussies.
Pollock’s career was cut short by the sporting boycott at 26 but he now sits on the South African selection committee.
Other sports stars born on this day
1980: Scott Prince, is an ex NRL star and winner of the Clive Churchill Medal after his 2005 Grand Final win (37).
1981: Elodie Ouedraogo, won Olympic gold as part of the Belgian 4x100m relay team in 2008 (36).
1987: Florence Kiplagat, is a Kenyan long-distance runner and former half marathon world record holder (30).
1992: Jonjo Shelvey plays for Newcastle and is widely argued to be the best midfielder in the Championship (25).