Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi announced his arrival in international cricket through a blazing hundred on the 4th of October in 1996. Shahid Afridi, who made his international debut that year, struck a hundred in only 37 balls to engrave his name in the record books. But despite the ICC records that claim that he made his century at the age of 16, as per his latest claimed age, he should not hold the record for the youngest ODI centurion.
It was Shahid Afridi’s only second ODI and he did not get to bat in his debut against Kenya. But the swashbuckling all-rounder made the best use of his opportunity in his subsequent game. Afridi reached triple figures in only 37 balls that consisted of six fours and 11 sixes, scoring at a pace that was unheard of in the 1990s. The right-handed batsman did so against a quality Sri Lankan attack that had Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, and Arvinda De Silva.
The fastest record of the ODI hundred stayed intact for 16 years until New Zealand’s Corey Anderson broke it against the West Indies, hitting it in 36 balls. The following year South Africa’s AB De Villiers snapped the record yet again with a blistering 30-ball ton against the West Indies in Johannesburg.
Here’s why Usman Ghani is the youngest ODI centurion and not Shahid Afridi:
Reportedly, when Shahid Afridi’s famous hundred in Nairobi against Sri Lanka, he was 16 years and 217 days. It has stayed unbreached and Afghanistan’s Usman Ghani is the nearest on the list for the youngest ODI centurions when he struck a ton against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 214, aged 17 years 242 days. However, over the years, there have been several debates and speculations over Afridi’s original age.
In 2019, the Pakistan all-rounder claimed in his autobiography that he was born in 1975 and not 1980, which is the official date in the ICC records. But Afridi’s recent tweet (dated 1st of March 2021), he declared he turned 44. His tweet said “Thank you very much for all the lovely birthday wishes – 44 today! My family and my fans are my biggest assets”
Thank you very much for all the lovely birthday wishes – 44 today! My family and my fans are my biggest assets. Really enjoying my stint with Multan and hope to produce match winning performances for all MS fans.
— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) February 28, 2021
By that logic, he should not hold the record for the youngest ODI centurion and he could not be 16 when he steamrolled Sri Lanka in 1998. Instead, Afridi should be 19 at that time. Thus, Usman Ghani should be the custodian of the same, having struck it at 17 years and 242 days.