Shaheen says Pakistan can still finish in top four of World Cup 2023

Shaheen Afridi achieved record of being fastest pacer to reach milestone of 100 ODI wickets with bowling figures of 3 for 23

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Skipper Babar Azam and fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrate the pacers record in a match against Bangladesh.  x/iShaheeenAfridi
Skipper Babar Azam and fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrate the pacer's record in a match against Bangladesh.  x/iShaheeenAfridi

  • Shaheen happy to become fastest Pakistani bowler to 100 wickets.
  • Notes that length is more important in Indian conditions.
  • Says a lot of bowlers who rely on pace are struggling in world cup. 

KOLKATA: Pakistan’s fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi hopes that Pakistan can still finish among the top four of the ICC Cricket World Cup, despite Pakistan’s progress now depending on the results of other teams in the event. 

Pakistan, on Tuesday, defeated Bangladesh by seven wickets at Eden Gardens Kolkata to improve their NRR from negative to positive, though they’re still behind Australia and New Zealand and have an uphill task ahead of them if they have to beat them on NRR.

Authoring Pakistan’s win, Shaheen Afridi, with bowling figures of 3 for 23, also achieved the record of being the fastest pacer to reach the milestone of 100 ODI wickets.

After his remarkable display, Shaheen expressed his elation and optimism about Pakistan's prospects in the ongoing tournament.

"Records are meant to be broken," Shaheen Afridi modestly stated. "I am happy to be the fastest bowler for Pakistan to complete 100 wickets. I am happy that we have won the game."

The victory against Bangladesh was crucial for Pakistan, as they are fighting to secure a berth in the top four and improve their Net Run Rate (NRR).

Shaheen expressed the team's determination, saying, "We are eager to finish among the top four, and this was also reflected in our performance today. We wanted to finish the game as early as possible so that we could improve our NRR. We are still hopeful of finishing in the top four."

Reflecting on Pakistan's performance throughout the tournament, he acknowledged occasional mistakes.

"When you win, then everything looks good. And when you don't, then everyone starts pointing things out. I think we didn't play well in a few games. We did our best, but we also made mistakes like we dropped catches and did some misfielding. Things might have been different if we had not made those mistakes. Nevertheless, we are still alive in the tournament and looking forward to doing well," Shaheen said.

When asked about the challenging conditions and lack of swing, Shaheen said that he was expecting the sorts of conditions in India for the World Cup.

"I was expecting that I wouldn't get much swing early on. I got this idea from watching IPL matches. It's not just me; almost all left-arm fast bowlers are struggling to swing the ball, so it seems length is more important here. We controlled the length and tried to bowl using various variations to make the attack effective,” he said.

"Haris Rauf has a very important role in Pakistan's white-ball team. It is important to understand that wickets are slow, and it is not easy for pacers to do well. A lot of bowlers who rely on pace are struggling, but I am sure that he is a very clever bowler, and he has used his variation to achieve success for Pakistan,” Shaheen added.

With 16 wickets in the tournament, Shaheen confidently responded to any doubts about his bowling rhythm. "I have got 16 wickets so far, so there shouldn't be any questions about my bowling rhythm."

Replying to a question, Shaheen said that Shahid Afridi is his hero and he always seeks guidance from the former captain of the Pakistan team – who now also is his father-in-law.

“Shahid Afridi has done well for Pakistan and he is my hero. I want to emulate him and play as bravely as he used to play,” said the fast bowler.