Lahore Qalandars’ left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi, who claimed one of the most economical five-wicket hauls in the history of Twenty-20 cricket against Multan Sultans on Friday (March 9), has expressed his gratitude towards legendary India batsman Rahul Dravid for boosting his confidence.
Dravid, who coached the triumphant India Under-19 side during the recently concluded ICC Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand, had spoken highly of 17-year-old Shaheen’s skills.
“I am so happy that (Rahul) Dravid supported me, and I am grateful to him for having spoken to me many times. That was a big boost for a youngster from a senior player, and I would like to specially thank him on this occasion,” Shaheen Afridi told Gulf News after his remarkable spell (3.4-1-4-5) against Multan.
Shaheen grabbed the attention of the cricketing fraternity with his awe-inspiring 6 for 15 in 8.5 overs against Ireland in the Youth World Cup. Considering his ability to demolish batting line-ups, the teenage pacer is already deemed as Pakistan’s future fast bowling star.
Afridi had not clicked in the first three game of the PSL. When asked about the reason of his failure in Lahore’s earlier matches, he said: “This is the first time I have played Twenty20 cricket. That’s why I was not able to click in the earlier games.”
Interestingly, Shaheen hails from a cricketing family. His elder brother Riaz Afridi has played one Test for Pakistan back in 2004. Shaheen credits his brother for introducing him to cricket.
“I got a lot of tips from my elder brother. At the National Cricket Academy, (former Test star) Mudassar (Nazar) bhai too helped me. I also got help from Waqar (Younis) bhai and Wasim (Akram) bhai,” he noted.
After proving his worth in limited-overs cricket at the junior level and in PSL, Shaheen is now desperate to don the whites for Pakistan.
“I hope I get a chance to play for Pakistan, especially in a Test match. I personally like Test cricket,” he concluded.