Cricket
Shaheen Shah Afridi confident in his pace ahead of T20 WC

Shaheen Shah Afridi confident in his pace ahead of T20 WC

Afridi, who has risen meteorically in the cricketing world, attributes part of his success to the Lahore Qalandars franchise, which provided him with a crucial platform.

Pakistan’s pace sensation, Shaheen Shah Afridi, has dismissed concerns about his bowling pace ahead of the T20 World Cup 2024, asserting that he can still bowl at 140 or 145.

Afridi, who has risen meteorically in the cricketing world, attributes part of his success to the Lahore Qalandars franchise, which provided him with a crucial platform.

“I know I can still bowl 140 or 145, but you have to do everything when the time is right. In T20 cricket, no bowler bowls 140-plus as their average ball. In T20 cricket, you only need to bowl three or four balls at express pace. There are a lot of slower balls, variations, and the like. I have never felt my pace has dipped. I know I can bowl 140 or 145. I’m still fit and young, just 23,” Shaheen Shah Afridi told ESPNcricinfo.

Shaheen Shah Afridi highlighted the importance of local players in the team’s success. He credited the Lahore Qalandars’ Player Development Programme for discovering talent across the country, turning the franchise’s fortunes around. While Afridi technically emerged before the PDP, it was his standout performance in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) that catapulted him into the national spotlight.

Afridi’s leadership as the Qalandars’ captain has been pivotal in their transformation from the least successful to the most successful PSL franchise. He led the team to two consecutive titles, emphasizing the importance of maintaining their successful processes for continued achievements.

Shaheen Shah Afridi optimistic

Despite facing two initial defeats in the current PSL season, Afridi remains optimistic, citing the team’s core group of players who have clinched titles twice. The franchise’s commitment to local players has been a key factor in their recent successes, with Afridi dismissing criticism about the absence of big-name international players in this season.

The PSL has experienced a decline in overseas player availability due to clashes with other T20 leagues, leading to a less star-studded roster this year. However, Afridi is quick to defend the league’s global appeal, highlighting the significant value and respect local players receive when playing abroad.

Rashid Khan missed

Afridi acknowledges the absence of star spinner Rashid Khan but remains confident in the team’s bowling strength. He believes the challenges faced in the early PSL seasons were primarily with the bat, and the team has strengthened its batting order in recent years.

The interview also touched upon Afridi’s role as Pakistan’s T20 captain, a responsibility he assumed after Babar Azam stepped down. Despite facing criticism for the team’s performance against New Zealand, Afridi downplays any significant difference between franchise and international captaincy, emphasizing the familiarity among Pakistan players.

As the PSL provides a much-needed distraction for cricket enthusiasts in Pakistan amidst economic and political challenges, Shaheen Shah Afridi remains hopeful that the league will bring joy to the fans. With his unwavering confidence in his bowling pace, Afridi is geared up for the T20 World Cup and is eager to contribute to Pakistan’s success on the international stage.

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