Monday, June 05, 2023
BIRMINGHAM: Left-arm Pakistani fast bowler Shaheen Afridi said that he’s overwhelmed by the support fans in England have shown him so far. Shaheen, who successfully led twice the PSL franchise Lahore Qalandars to back-to-back title victories in the last two years, was speaking exclusively to Geo News at Edgbaston Stadium Birmingham after his team Nottinghamshire Outlaws beat the hosts Birmingham Bears in the T20Blast game.
During the match, hundreds of Shaheen's fans present at the stadium were mainly from Birmingham and were backing the home team to win, but also kept on backing up Shaheen whenever he was bowling or was fielding close to the boundary line throughout the match.
The Shaheen Afridi fans waited patiently after the match for almost an hour to make sure they get a chance to take his autograph or a selfie with him.
Normally, the players from the visiting teams leave quite soon after the match as they have to travel back to their home cities but Shaheen obliged the wishes of the fans and stayed to make sure that they all get for what they came.
"It really feels good to see so many fans around. These are our own people who are supporting me regardless of wherever I’m playing so they come out to support me whether I’m batting, bowling or fielding. I’m extremely grateful to all the supporters."
This has been the case throughout the T20 Blast tournament that wherever Shaheen is playing where at home ground Trent Bridge or at Manchester’s Old Trafford, Birmingham’s Edgbaston or any other ground hundreds of fans have been flocking to stadiums to watch him in action up close.
“In all our matches especially at Trent Bridge Nottingham, the home ground of my team Outlaws, the Pakistani community have been coming out in great numbers and that really feels good. Even today in Birmingham I had good support, who appreciated my performance, kept backing me up and were cheering for me."
Batting first Shaheen’s Nottinghamshire Outlaws despite losing Alex Hales early scored 214 runs for the loss of 3 wickets in 20 overs.
Opener Joe Clark scored an unbeaten 89 of 53 balls while Colin Munro scored another blistering half-century. Kiwi player Munro scored 87 runs off just 43 balls.
In reply, though Birmingham Bears had a steady start in the 4th over Shaheen dismissed first Moeen Ali and then in form Alex Davies.
He gave way to only 13 runs in his first two overs claiming wickets for the Bears’ both openers.
Shaheen got his third wicket in the 17th over, he could’ve ended up with more wickets but didn’t get much support from Nottingham’s fielders.
Birmingham Bears despite another heroic innings by Sam Hein fell 11 runs short. Hein ended up scoring unbeaten 97 runs on just 52 balls.
Shaheen ended up with bowling figures of three wickets for 39 runs which so far was his best bowling performance. Although Outlaws' fielders didn’t perform well, Shaheen was satisfied with the team’s overall performance.
"Team has really played well, but the credit should go to our batters. The pitches here are playing very well as in many games 200 plus runs have been scored. So batters performed well and provided us with enough cushion of runs to ball aggressively. In doing so we got the wickets and the spinners played a good role too."
So far in T20 Blast, Shaheen has played in all matches for Nottinghamshire Outlaws taking 8 wickets in six matches and conceding 220 runs at an average of 9 runs per over.