Pakistan has been rising in international cricket with its talented players recently. We can commonly consider a name one of them – Shaheen Shah Afridi. The young left-arm simmer is leading the pitch nowadays and has made an icon for the upcoming cricketers on the worldwide platform. At the beginning of his career, a rumour spread around the internet that he might be a relative of legendary Pak cricketer Shahid Afridi. Still, later on, he directed it false. However, we will discuss Shaheen’s cricketing career and his contribution to national and international cricket.
Shaheen Shah Afridi grew up in the local areas of Landi Kotal, a town in Khyber District, Pakistan, on the border with Afghanistan. He started his cricket career at the Tatara Ground in Landi Kotal, named after the nearby Tatara hills. Success at this level led to Afridi being selected for the Under-16 in Australia tour in November 2015. He played his part there with four wickets in the 2–1 victory in the One-Day and Twenty20 series.
In December 2016, Shaheen Shah Afridi was selected for the Pakistan Under-19 team for the 2016 Under-19 Asia Cup held in Sri Lanka. He took three wickets for 27 runs in Pakistan’s 9 wickets win over Singapore in their opening match of the U-19 Asia Cup.
Shaheen made his first-class debut for Khan Research Laboratories in the 2017–18 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy on 26 September 2017. In the second innings, he took 8 wickets for 39 runs, the best figures by a Pakistani bowler on his first-class debut.
Shaheen’s rise in international cricket:
There is nothing to deny that Shaheen Shah Afridi’s capacity is scaringly infinite. Blessed with a tall, strong frame and the ability to bowl fast, Afridi, also like his famous namesake, can strike the ball hard with the willow bat in hand. Add to all his variety as a left-arm pace bowler, and you might know why there is the top excitement around this man in Pakistan. Afridi was born into a family of seven, where he is the youngest and, arguably, the most skilled.
Despite being extremely passionate about cricket from childhood, he was mostly into tennis ball before he was guided by his eldest brother Riaz, a one-Test wonder for Pakistan. He has also been Shaheen’s inspiration and mentor. The transition has been highly smooth for Shaheen, who has risen the ranks briskly quickly.
Pakistan Super League has also helped Shaheen to rub shoulders with some of the exclusive in deals. The exposure has made Shaheen a stricter man, and he is still in his teenage years. Still, he is very raw, and his domestic career has recently taken off.
Shaheen Shah Afridi made his international debut during the T-20I series at home against West Indies in 2018 and was impressed with his skill set. After being on the radar for a while, he earned his maiden ODI call-up for the Asia Cup in the same year. Despite not playing all the games, Shaheen also had an impressive series in the 2019 World Cup. He generated a good pace and doled out fine variations at the death, ending with 16 wickets in the journey. Let’s look at the statistics –
|Matches||Not out||Runs||Highest||Average||Strick rate||100s||50s||6s||4s||CT||ST|
One fantastic fact about Shaheen Shah Afridi is that he is the youngest Pakistani fast bowler till today who represents Pakistan Cricket Team in international matches. Even the young and ferocious paceman carries the ability to bowl consistently at speeds in the high-140 kmph.
Shaheen Shah Afridi was indeed one of the few shining lights for Pakistan, who tolerated a hopeless tournament otherwise. Although he started his Test career at the start of 2019, it might be interesting to notice how the PCB and the team management control his workload, given the youngster’s injury-prone nature. It seems effective to preserve him for the shorter formats where he is a deadly customer.