“Nobody has such a strong bowling line-up”: Shahid Afridi expects Pakistan to play T20 World Cup 2024 final

Pakistan will open their T20 World Cup 2024 campaign against USA in Dallas on June 6.

Shahid Afridi | GettyFromer Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi is hopeful about the Babar Azam-led side’s chances of reaching the final in the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Afridi highlighted the conditions in the West Indies and USA for the showpiece tournament, suggesting they could benefit the Men in Green.

Pakistan boast an impressive record in the T20 World Cup since its inception in 2007. It won the 2009 edition under Younis Khan and twice played the finals under Shoaib Malik (2007) and Babar Azam (2022). In 2010, 2012, and 2021, they reached the last-four stage.

"I feel Pakistan should make the final. The reason is that the conditions (in the West Indies and the USA) suit our team. If we look at the spinners in our team, they are outstanding. They might not be in form but I know they will return in form. If we talk about fast bowling, it’s an incredible attack. In batting, we have great strength,” said Afridi to ICC.

He also expressed his excitement over Pakistan’s pace battery for the T20 World Cup. Left-arm quick Shaheen Afridi will spearhead the attack, also featuring Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Abbas Afridi and Mohammad Amir.

"I think in any cricket team in the world, nobody has such a strong bowling line-up. All our four fast bowlers have a lot of skill and even the bowlers sitting on the bench like Abbas (Afridi)...has a lot of skill with a good slower ball."

“If the players with such good skills enter this World Cup against world-class batters they will perform well. All the names will also have a huge responsibility over them," he added.

Shahid Afridi also wishes to see Pakistan’s batting line-up have a higher strike rate in the marquee event.

"The thing that bothers me is the strike rate of our batters, especially in between the seven to thirteen over phase. I hope that the strike rate improves in that phase. In terms of runs per over, eight or nine runs per over are needed but still Pakistan are my favourite."

Afridi was hesitant to single out one player who would hold the key to Pakistan’s chances in the competition. At the same time, he wished to see Babar leading the side from the front in his return to the role as Pakistan captain.

"All players in the team are important. But if you look at the performances in the recent past, Babar (Azam). (Mohammad) Rizwan, Fakhar (Zaman), Shaheen (Afridi), Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Shadab (Khan) - all of them play an important role and will be key (for Pakistan) at the World Cup.”

"But if I had to pick one, I would pick the captain Babar Azam, because he is the leader. I want him to perform well, and make timely decisions which will take the team to victory," he concluded.


By Salman Anjum - 26 May, 2024

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