In the highly anticipated 2023 World Cup match at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, cricket fans were eagerly anticipating the contest between Pakistan pacer Shaheen Afridi and India’s top-order batsmen. However, the result didn’t align with expectations, and the former Indian cricketers Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar were quick to criticize Shaheen Afridi following India’s dominant seven-wicket win.
Underwhelming Performance by Shaheen Afridi
Shaheen Afridi, recognized for his tall stature and his ability to generate late movement, had previously been a thorn in the side of India’s top-order batsmen. Nevertheless, his recent form had raised concerns. In the two previous matches against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, he managed just two wickets while conceding 103 runs. This raised questions about his effectiveness heading into the high-stakes encounter against India.
The Big Match and the Rohit Sharma Show
As the Men in Blue were set a modest target of 192, all eyes were on Shaheen Afridi. However, on the very first ball, Rohit Sharma showcased his dominance by taking him on. Although Shaheen managed to dismiss Shubman Gill early on, Rohit’s aggressive batting set the tone for India, especially during the Powerplay, where they amassed 79 runs, with Rohit contributing nearly 60 percent of them.
Unfiltered Assessment by Ravi Shastri
During the game, Ravi Shastri, the former head coach of the Indian cricket team, did not hold back as he criticized Shaheen Afridi. Known for his straightforward opinions, Shastri declared that Pakistan should come to terms with the fact that Shaheen is not extraordinary. He acknowledged Shaheen as a good bowler with the new ball and the ability to pick wickets but dismissed the notion that he’s anything exceptional, saying, “He is only a decent bowler. He’s no big deal. You have to accept the truth.”
Gavaskar’s Disappointment with Shaheen
Sunil Gavaskar echoed Shastri’s sentiment by expressing his disappointment with Shaheen Afridi’s performance. He emphasized that Shaheen should have taken inspiration from Jasprit Bumrah’s use of slower off-cutters, which led to crucial wickets. Gavaskar’s critique underlined the missed opportunities to emulate the successful tactics employed by the Indian star bowler.
The Fallout and Future Challenges
As the cricketing world reacts to Shaheen Afridi’s underwhelming performance against India, Pakistan will need to regroup and address concerns regarding their bowling attack. With the World Cup tournament ongoing, it remains to be seen how Shaheen and his team bounce back from this setback and whether they can rekindle their competitive edge in future matches.