‘After bowling well to Babar, I can counter any batsman in the world’

Monitoring Desk

LAHORE: After bowling to the number one ranked Twenty20 International (T20I) batsman in the world, Babar Azam, Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi believes that he can counter any batsman in the world.

In an interview with Pakpassion.net, the young pacer shared that he enjoyed the tough challenge of coming up against his Pakistan teammate as it will improve his overall game.

“Amongst all the world’s top batsmen and also in the PSL, Babar Azam is my favourite and he was also the most difficult batsman I had the chance to bowl to during the PSL,” Afridi said. “The fact is that we do always look forward to competing with each other and look to outplay each other as this also helps us to become better players which will eventually help us in our international careers too.”

“If I know how to bowl well to a number-one ranked batsman like Babar Azam, then I can also do the same to a similar batsman from a different country as well,” he added. The 20-year-old also revealed playing with a fractured thumb in the now-suspended fifth edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL).

“I was playing with a fractured thumb on my bowling hand and there was as a time when I was thinking of not playing any further games in the tournament,” he said. “But what changed my mind was the advice of my father and elder brother Riaz Afridi who convinced me to carry on despite the injury as they felt that the team needed me to play on. This is the sort of effort that got us to the semi-final stage which is not what many people initially thought we were capable of.”

“Hopefully, whenever the PSL is resumed, we will give it our 100% and qualify for the final and then try and win the tournament,” he added.

Finally, Shaheen credited his bowling mentors Azhar Mahmood and Waqar Younis for improvement in the effectiveness of his Yorker delivery.

“I have worked very hard to be able to bowl good Yorkers and this started from around the time we played in the 2019 World Cup where Azhar Mahmood really helped me bowl this ball more effectively,” he said. “In fact, even before the World Cup, I asked Waqar Younis for his help as I was finding it difficult to bowl them at that time.

He also helped me out for the same issue during my stint at the NCA when I was recovering from dengue fever. If you can’t learn how to bowl yorkers from Waqar Younis, then you will never learn how to bowl them.” “All this was very important as a bouncer and a Yorker are two of the main weapons of any fast-bowler and if you have these in your armoury, then you can bowl really well,” he concluded.