Shahid Afridi's autobiography, 'Game Changer' has been making news on a daily basis since being released. There are plenty of interesting revelations from the retired all-rounder about himself and Pakistan cricket. But amidst all the interesting bits of trivia, there is one statement that can be described as sexist and regressive.
Afridi has written that he will not allow his four daugthers, Ajwa, Ansha, Asmara and Aqsa, to play outdoor sports. "Ajwa and Asmara are the youngest and love to play dress-up. They have my permission to play any sport, as long as they're indoors. Cricket? No, not for my girls. They have permission to play all the indoor games they want, but my daughters are not going to be competing in public sporting activities," the retired cricketer stated in his autobiography.
No concern for public opinion
While making this assertion, the former Pakistan captain anticipates the adverse reaction it is going to draw and responds to it in an unrepentant manner. Cocking a snook at potential critics, the controversial ex-Pakistan international adds: "The feminists can say whatever they want about my decision."
This set of shocking comments has led to an intense reaction from various people on social media. From Indians who were already unhappy about the statements of the Karachi-based cricketer to Pakistanis who may have even admired him, many have criticised Afridi for his stance.
The reason cited by the man who once held the record of the fastest ODI hundred for having put such restrictions on his daughters are along expected lines. "It's for social and religious reasons that I've made this decision regarding my daughters not competing in public sporting activities and their mother agrees with me," the former opener says while describing himself as a conservative Pakistani father.
The retired all-rounder has never been too far away from controversies throughout his career. From roughing up the pitch to biting the cricket ball, Afridi has done it all. His comments on various issues, be it Kashmir or fellow cricketers, have also generated a lot of commentary. Recently, the former Pakistan skipper was involved in a war of words with former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir whom he described in very uncharitable terms. One thing is certain, the flamboyant cricketer is not going to be a popular figure in many cricket circles, including his own.