Shahid Afridi may be a polarising figure in Pakistan but Peshawar Zalmi assistant coach Andy Flower says the flamboyant all-rounder is ‘misunderstood’.
Afridi, 35, was recently involved in an on-air spat with a journalist during a press conference in Lahore in which the Pakistan T20 skipper termed a question posed to him ‘pathetic’.
Pakistan T20 captain’s straight-shooting behaviour triggered a protest by the news teams covering the press conference.
Flower though believes that Afridi is a very different person from how he is portrayed in the media.
“Shahid is an excellent leader and he is a guy whom other players follow,” said Flower.
“I know him fairly well playing against him for many years, but reputations can sometimes be misleading.”
“The things you read in the newspapers can be misleading sometimes,” Flower adds.
The Peshawar Zalmi management team also consists of former Pakistan fast-bowler Mohammad Akram, whose partnership with Afridi according to Flower has worked well for the team.
“We get on very well and there is a nice easy atmosphere about the way Akram combines with Afridi,” says the former England coach.
“Akram and Afridi are two very good leaders and complement each other. Two excellent performances, it’s the start of the tournament but it’s a great start,” he adds.
Flower emphasises that the PSL would benefit Pakistan just like the Indian Premier League (IPL) helped India find numerous talented players.
“It’s nice to see some excellent overseas players, but I think this tournament will be very good for Pakistan youngsters in the way the IPL has benefited Indian cricket,” he said
“I think they are mixing their own international players with some overseas players and that will give them a lot of confidence.”