Young Pakistan pace bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi has said that beating India in the Super 12 group match of the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE last year still makes him feel proud, adding that personally it was a “great day” for him.
Pakistan had thrashed India by 10 wickets with Afridi getting rid of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli in a Group 2 match in Dubai on October 24 last year.
“It was a great day for me, to be honest. A lot of people watch India-Pakistan matches, including those who don’t even like cricket. When I look back on that win, I feel very proud. Yes, we couldn’t win the World Cup but we did well in that game against India and I’ll try to give my best even in the next World Cup,” Afridi told Cricbuzz on Monday.
The 21-year-old left-arm pacer, who was named ‘ICC men’s Cricketer of the Year for 2021′ emerging the youngest cricketer ever to get the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, said that the youngsters in the side saw the match against India as a great opportunity to end the arch-rivals’ unbeaten run in World Cups against Pakistan.
“Most players were playing for the first time against India in a T20 World Cup, except (Mohammad) Hafeez bhai and Shoaib (Malik) bhai. And for us, it was an opportunity. The kind of cricket we played, we were very prepared and we had belief in each other. The captain’s role is crucial and he (Babar Azam) backed me and the team a lot. The dressing room environment was quite friendly. There was a sense that if Shaheen can’t, then Hasan Ali will… and if Hasan Ali can’t, then Haris Rauf will. We had to play our best cricket and make people happy back home. And it was good fortune that we ended up on the right side,” said Afridi, who also became the first Pakistani player to receive the ICC top award recently.
Afridi said that his strategy against Virat Kohli on the day was to surprise him with a slow bouncer, while against KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma he pitched the ball up to get both of them out.
“The end I was bowling from, the leg-side boundary was smaller, say about 60-65 metre only. If I had bowled straight and fast at him (Kohli), he would have flicked me or pulled me for runs. So I wanted to mix things up and bowl a slow bouncer at him, so that it would have been difficult for him to go leg-side. Luckily for me, the ball gripped and he got out. I admire Virat Kohli a lot, he’s one of the best around.
“Rohit, Rahul and Kohli are their mainstays and three of the best batsmen in the world. Kohli is their backbone and once you get them out, it gets difficult for the middle order. And if one of them bats deep, it gets easier for the batsman coming in later. Since I was getting some swing in that match – and the team anyway wants wickets from me early on – I was trying to pitch it up to Rohit and Rahul and I was able to get both of them out,” added Afridi.