Former Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi was regarded as one of the game’s most lethal hitters in his prime. For more than 17 years, Afridi’s 37-ball century against Sri Lanka in 1996 held the record for the fastest century in ODIs. With 395 ODI wickets and 98 T20I dismissals by the end of his international career, he also became a devastating spinner for the side.

However, Afridi’s career did have its share of scandal. The former Pakistani captain was benched for one Test and two ODIs in 2005 due to charges of pitch manipulation. Afridi addressed the matter and explained the facts around it more than 17 years after he stirred controversy by ruining the field with his boots during a match against England at Faislabad.

Afridi explained how he tampered with the wicket by strategically using a gas cylinder explosion. Additionally, he recalled communicating with Pakistani celebrity Shoaib Malik before doing so.

“The show was fantastic. It happened in Faislabad. I can promise you that the ball was not twisting or getting any swing or seam since it was a test. It was becoming a little boring. I used all of my might, yet nothing changed. Everyone’s attention was immediately diverted by a gas cylinder explosion. I told Malik, “Mera dil chaah raha hai main idhar patch bana du.” (I want to improve this field. Toh turns ho, ball.) On Samaa TV, Afridi said, “I want the ball to turn!”

Shoaib Malik answered, “Kar de.” “Koi nai dekh raha” (Do it, no one is watching). I took that action! And the rest is history, as they say. As Afridi said, he was chuckling “You do realize it was a mistake when you think back on it.

Afridi represented Pakistan in 99 T20 Internationals, 398 ODIs, and 27 Tests. Malik, meantime, is still playing cricket professionally, although he is now out of favor with the Pakistani team. Malik’s last T20I match was against Bangladesh in November 2021.