In a remarkable feat, Pakistan’s star bowler, Shaheen Shah Afridi, has ascended to the pinnacle of cricket’s bowling rankings. The 23-year-old prodigy, known for his lethal pace and precision, has overtaken Australian speedster Josh Hazlewood, securing the prestigious top rank. This remarkable achievement comes as Afridi continues to shine on the international stage, a journey that began with his debut in 2018.
Afridi’s stellar performance at the World Cup is a testament to his extraordinary talent. With an impressive tally of 16 wickets in the tournament, he has demonstrated his mettle on the world stage. His latest showing included a brilliant spell of 3-23 in the recent clash against Bangladesh in Kolkata, a match where Pakistan emerged victorious with seven wickets to spare. This victory has breathed new life into Pakistan’s hopes of reaching the World Cup semi-finals.
One of the notable milestones in Afridi’s career was reaching the 100-wicket mark in his 51st one-day international. In his own words, he expressed his delight at achieving this feat, but his primary focus remains firmly on contributing to Pakistan’s success. Afridi stated, “I am delighted at completing 100 ODI wickets, but the biggest thing is that all these wickets are for Pakistan, and my goal is always to do something that helps us win.”
Afridi’s success in the Indian subcontinent, particularly in India, has come in the absence of traditional swing conditions. This necessitated an adjustment in his approach, which he keenly adapted to. Reflecting on his performance, he remarked, “I watched some of the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches this year, and there was not much swing. So, I am not much surprised. But this is not for me only; it’s for other left-arm bowlers like (Mitchell) Starc and (Trent) Boult also.” He emphasized the importance of maintaining a consistent line and length under such circumstances.
Shaheen Shah Afridi also commended his fellow fast bowlers, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Wasim, for their valuable contributions. Haris Rauf’s pace and impact in white-ball cricket and Mohammad Wasim’s remarkable performance after being on the bench were acknowledged by Afridi. He emphasized that having a pool of talented bowlers like them is beneficial for Pakistan’s cricketing prospects.
With their recent triumph against Bangladesh, Pakistan has amassed six points from seven games in the World Cup. However, their journey to the semi-finals remains a challenging one, requiring them to secure victories in their remaining matches and rely on favorable outcomes in other fixtures.