There was finally international action that didn’t involve England or the West Indies last week, as Pakistan’s tour of Sri Lanka kicked off with a two-match Twenty20 International series. It was a low-scoring affair, with Sri Lanka’s 132 for seven in the first match at Hambantota the highest team total in a drawn series.
It is with this fact in mind that we pick the Cricket World Player of the Week. Shahid Afridi was the only player to pass 50 in either match and takes this week’s award. His innings of 52 not out from 33 balls in yesterday’s second Twenty20 International was the main contribution to the visitors’ ultimately match-winning first innings total of 122 for six, while his two wickets with the ball ensured Sri Lanka never came close to chasing it down.
Other contenders for this week’s award included Afridi’s team-mate and official player of the series, Sohail Tanvir, who ended with figures of three for 12 and one for 15 in the two matches; and Sri Lanka’s match winner on Friday, Thisara Perera, who struck an unbeaten 32 from only 16 balls.
However, it is the mercurial Afridi who is this week’s winner. The 32 year-old always seems to be able to deliver on the big occasion and remains one of cricket’s biggest draws. His fortunes always tend to mirror those of Pakistan, something that perhaps emphasises the galvanising, or occasionally destructive, effect that he has on the rest of his team-mates. Either way, Pakistan will need Afridi to be on song later this year when they attempt to regain their World Twenty20 crown in Sri Lanka.
© Cricket World 2012