Pakistan faced a shock seven-wicket defeat to arch-rivals India in their previous ODI World Cup 2023 match in Ahmedabad. Asked to bat first, the Babar Azam-led side were bowled out for 191. Later, Team India chased down the target in just 30.3 overs with skipper Rohit Sharma hitting 86 runs. With an eye on redemption, Pakistan will now take on Australia in Bengaluru on Friday. Before the match, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram gave some advice to pacer Shaheen Afridi, who is yet to make his mark in the tournament.
With four wickets in three matches, the Pakistan pace spearhead has failed to live up to the expectations of the fans and the team. Amid all this action, Akram came out in support of Shaheen and stated that the star pacer should just follow his routine.
“He has bowled well. What can he do specially in the World Cup? Obviously his confidence is low. But he is a bowler who takes wickets, if you are not getting wickets then just be normal. Do nothing Follow your routine and keep practicing. Just one or two good spells is all he needs to be back in shape,” Akram said during an appearance on ‘The Pavilion’, a show on Pakistan’s A Sports.
Afridi has not yet delivered the expected results. Afridi has taken four wickets from three matches and his economy rate of 6.31 is the second-worst among Pakistani bowlers after leg-spinner Shadab Khan, 6.55.
His average for the tournament is 34.75, and both statistics are significantly higher than his career marks: 5.51 and 23.87.
Not so long ago, Afridi was a formidable presence with the new ball, wreaking serious havoc in the Powerplay segment and robbing opponents of their early momentum.
But during this tournament, Afridi looked nothing like his angry avatar. Coupled with his reduced efficiency, Pakistani management will be even more concerned about the sharp drop in Afridi’s pace.
Afridi is a bowler who can touch close to 150 clicks and has only crossed the 140 mark on occasion during this World Cup as batsmen tackled him with consummate ease on the slower Indian pitches.
(With PTI inputs)
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