Shaheen raring to have a go at Bangladesh
LONDON: With Pakistan facing World Cup elimination following successive losses against Australia and India, Shaheen Shah Afridi was identified as one of the weak links in the team’s playing eleven.
Critics underlined the fact that the 19-year-old was bowling at a wrong length and leaking too many runs. On the top of that he wasn’t taking wickets.
All of that has changed.
Shaheen took 3-28 in a much-needed win against New Zealand in Birmingham and then became the youngest bowler to take a four-wicket haul in a World Cup in a narrow three-wicket victory against Afghanistan at Headingley.
The weak link is now being labeled by experts as an asset for Pakistan.
“I’m really thankful for this turnaround,” Shaheen said on Tuesday.
“I was certainly under pressure after failing to give my best against England,” he said referring to Pakistan’s pre-World Cup ODI series against the World Cup hosts.
“Then I didn’t bowl well in the initial matches of the World Cup. But the captain and the coaches were still backing me and that gave me a lot of confidence,” he added.
Shaheen, who wants to emulate the legendary Wasim Akram, acknowledged the helpful tips given to him by the former Pakistan captain.
“I’ve been working hard with the coaches so must give them credit especially Ajju bhai (bowling coach Azhar Mahmood). Wasim bhai gave some really vital tips and all of that really helped.”
Shaheen is hopeful that he can learn a lot from his heroes Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.
“They are true legends. I would strive to follow in their footsteps though I know it won’t be easy to do that. I’ll continue working hard in order to be useful to the Pakistan team.”
Despite being fully aware that Pakistan are facing World Cup elimination, Shaheen said that he was raring to have a go at Bangladesh in Pakistan’s last group game at Lord’s on Friday.