‘Best yet to come’: Shaheen Shah Afridi ahead of India vs Pakistan Super Four clash – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s formidable pace bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi has issued a warning following his explosive performance against arch-rivals India during the Asia Cup.
Shaheen emphasised that this was just the beginning, with the World Cup mere weeks away.
The left-arm fast bowler created havoc in their Group A encounter last week, securing figures of 4-35, which included the dismissals of star batsmen Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.


Asia Cup: India open their ‘Super 4’ campaign vs Pakistan

Although that particular match was marred by rain, they are set to face each other again in Colombo on Sunday during the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup. This tournament serves as a prelude to the 50-over World Cup, which is scheduled to commence next month.

And Shaheen told AFP there is more to come.
“Every match against India is special and people watch this a lot,” the 23-year-old said Friday. “I used to wait for this match as a fan before I played under-16 cricket.”

“I can’t say this has been my best spell so far. This is just the start and there will be many more, so the best is yet to come.”
With his ability to move the ball both ways, Shaheen leads one of the most potent pace attacks in the world.
“If you play all the three formats at such a young age for Pakistan and handle the new ball, people expect you to perform like that,” he said.

Shaheen and his fellow fast bowlers Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf have picked up 23 wickets between them in the Asia Cup so far.
“We know our roles with the new and old ball,” Shaheen said.
“Haris is quicker than us and impacts with his pace. Naseem and I try to get early breakthroughs.”
The “communication is good between us,” he added. “And that’s our success.”
Shaheen, who stands at 6 feet and 6 inches (1.98 metres), suffered a serious knee injury last year but returned strongly in Sri Lanka in July.

“It’s your match time that helps you improve. These Test matches against Sri Lanka recently made me improve as I bowled long spells and fielded all day,” said Shaheen, who has 105 wickets in 27 Tests.
“So that cleared all doubts about the knee injury.”
Shaheen has never played cricket in India — bilateral cricket ties are frozen because of political tensions between the neighbours.
He is keen to do well when Pakistan take on hosts India in the hotly anticipated World Cup match in Ahmedabad on October 14.
“All the foreign players who have played in the IPL (Indian Premier League), we had discussions with them. I think our Pakistan wickets or Dubai pitches will be similar,” he said.
“Spinners will get more help, maybe. We will hit good lengths. Our team performance is going well as the number one (ODI) team. We have prepared well.”
Shaheen is married to one of the daughters of former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, and said he speaks to the former all-rounder before every big match.

cricket match

“I try to pick his brains before a big game and include it in my plans as he was a big-match player,” said Shaheen.
“He talks simply and says: ‘Just play your cricket’.”
A fan of legendary Pakistani left-arm fast bowler Wasim Akram, Shaheen said he keeps his focus on the field by avoiding cricket off it.
“I don’t go out much and stay in my room. Just stay indoors, make green tea… and talk about anything other than cricket,” he said.
“That keeps me relaxed.”
(With inputs from AFP)

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