Shaheen Afridi sees learning opportunity as Qalandars captain

Published January 22, 2022
In this File photo, Shaheen Afridi celebrates after taking a wicket.
In this File photo, Shaheen Afridi celebrates after taking a wicket.

KARACHI: Starting his international career as 18-year-old lanky pacer for Pakistan back in 2018, Shaheen Afridi has seen a phenomenal rise.

In 2021, the left-armer was Pakistan’s highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, bowled a sensational spell in their historic win against arch-rivals India in the ICC T20 World Cup and got nominated for the ICC Men’s Cricketer of The Year award.

The pace sensation will start 2022 as the captain of Lahore Qalandars in the upcoming seventh edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League.

Though the franchise league is a totally different ball game as compared to international cricket, Shaheen wants to learn from his experience as the Qalandars skipper and apply it when he plays for Pakistan.

“As a professional I think I’ve to be prepared for everything,” he said during a virtual press conference on Friday. “When I was offered the captaincy, I viewed it as an opportunity.

“To be able to handle pressure for the Pakistan team, I believe I need to have similar experiences. I just want my experience in the PSL to help myself be a better player for Pakistan.”

While Shaheen believes in challenges and the growth resulting from them, he is not really aiming to become Pakistan captain in the near future. He, in fact, wants to see his “favourite player”Babar Azam stay as the national skipper for the next decade.

“The way Babar is captaining Pakistan right now, I pray that he continues to lead for the next nine to 10 years. I’ll always be happy to be only a fast bowler for Pakistan team,”Shaheen said.

All this, despite the fact that the duo will come face to face in PSL’s most awaited fixture, when Shaheen’s Qalandars take on Babar’s Karachi Kings.

“I will be under no pressure captaining my side against Babar’s. He is my captain and my favourite player and a good friend too,” said Shaheen.

“The Lahore-Karachi match is always one to look forward to and the fans enjoy it. We also try to give a bit of extra effort in this fixture because of its hype.”

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2022

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