And the year-long mystery has been finally put to rest… Well, kind of.
Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, writing in his autobiography, Game Changer, has made the revelation that he was actually born in 1975 and not 1980 as the official records say.
Now this changes everything. Afridi made his innings debut against Sri Lanka in Nairobi in 1996, as (per the official records) a 16-year-old and went on to score a 37-ball ton, thus becoming the youngest player to do so. He also held the record of scoring the fastest ton, which stood for over 17 years.
However, writing his autobiography, the former captain has said that he born in 1975 and also mentioned that he was 19 and not 16 when he scored the century against Sri Lanka.
"For the record, I was just nineteen, and not sixteen like they claim. I was born in 1975. So, yes, the authorities stated my age incorrectly."
The fishy aspect here though lies in the fact that if he was born in 1975, he would have been 20 or 21 and not 19 as he claims in his book. Furthermore, as ESPN Cricinfo quotes, the all-rounder was called to Nairobi from the Caribbean where he was representing the U-19 team. So, we if do the math here, he wasn’t really under that age during the tenure.
Afridi made several other revelations in his book and one of them was a slamming of former captain and coach, Waqar Younis. The all-rounder mentioned that Younis was a 'mediocre captain' and was a 'terrible coach'.
"Unfortunately, he hadn't let go of the past," Afridi wrote.
"Waqar and I had a history, dating all the way back to his tiff with Wasim over the captaincy crown. He was a mediocre captain but a terrible coach, always micromanaging and getting in the way, trying to tell the captain – me – what to do… It was a natural clash and it was bound to happen.”
And yes, there was also a mention of his infamous spat between former India captain, Gautam Gambhir. The rivalry between Afridi and Gambhir needs no introduction whatsoever, and while reacting to it, the all-rounder had some bitter words about his counterpart.
"Some rivalries were personal, some professional. First the curious case of Gambhir. Oh poor Gautam. He & his attitude problem. He who has no personality. He who is barely a character in the great scheme of cricket. He who has no great records just a lot of attitude.
"Gambhir behaves like he’s a cross between Don Bradman & James Bond. In Karachi we call guys like him saryal (burnt up). It’s simple, I like happy, positive people. Doesn’t matter if they are aggressive or competitive, but you have to be positive & Gambhir wasn't.”
It was in 2007 when the duo collided and was duly fined for breaching the ICC Code of Conduct. Remembering the time, Afridi added, "I remember the run-in with Gambhir during the 2007 Asia Cup, when he completed his single while running straight into me. The umpires had to finish it off or I would have. Clearly we had a frank bilateral discussion about each other's female relatives."