In a remarkably short span, fast bowler Shaheen Afridi has evolved into a sensation within the realm of Pakistan cricket. His left-arm speed and consistent performances, both on the international stage and in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), have propelled him to the forefront. The announcement of Afridi as the captain of the Pakistan T20 side, succeeding Babar Azam, adds another feather to his cap.

Lahore Qalandars’ triumph: Shaheen Afridi’s captaincy credentials

Afridi’s ascendancy to captaincy is no surprise, given his leadership role in guiding Lahore Qalandars to back-to-back PSL titles in 2022 and 2023. Beyond his individual brilliance, the Landi Kotal-born cricketer has demonstrated the ability to marshal a team to success, showcasing strong captaincy credentials. His appointment reflects the trust placed in him by the cricketing fraternity in Pakistan.

Shaheen names premier bowler of Pakistan

In a show of camaraderie, Afridi, speaking to Cricket Pakistan, has thrown his weight behind fellow fast bowler Haris Rauf. Despite Rauf’s recent dip in form, particularly evident in the T20I series in New Zealand, Afridi remained steadfast in his support. He not only considered Rauf the best bowler in the Qalandars but extended this acknowledgment to the entire country. This endorsement highlighted the unity and mutual respect among Pakistan’s pace bowling talents.

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Rauf’s recent performances, post-2023 World Cup, have faced scrutiny due to a noticeable decline. However, Afridi expressed confidence in Rauf’s ability to rebound from this setback. Recognizing Rauf’s resilience, Afridi anticipated a return to form for the 30-year-old ahead of the T20 World Cup in 2024.

“Just like batsmen face tough times without scoring runs, bowlers also have such phases. Haris is going through a tough time, but after difficulties come ease because he is a strong player and knows how to bounce back. He is not just Lahore Qalandars’ but Pakistan’s best bowler, so it’s important for him to find his form again,” Shaheen said.

Afridi’s enjoyment of captaincy: PSL as preparation for T20 World Cup 2024

Afridi shared his enjoyment of captaincy across various levels, indicating a positive mindset and eagerness to contribute to the team’s success. As the T20 World Cup 2024 approaches in the United States of America (USA) and West Indies, Afridi sees the ongoing PSL as a valuable platform for players to fine-tune their skills and readiness for the global tournament. The anticipation further builds for Pakistan’s marquee clash against India, set to unfold in New York during the T20 World Cup.

“I am enjoying leading my team. I am trying to take the team along with me. It’s a great opportunity because I am not just the captain of Lahore Qalandars but also of Pakistan, so I am taking the players along as well, and enjoying it. This is a good opportunity for all of us to prepare for the T20 World Cup,” the 24-year-old concluded.

Also READ: Here are Pakistan’s complete fixtures for T20 World Cup 2024

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