Former Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has hit back at cricketer-turned-commentator Ravi Shastri after the ex-India coach criticised fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi on air during the ICC World Cup 2023.
Shastri had questioned Afridi's quality as a pacer and slammed those who compared him with Pakistan legend Wasim Akram during the India vs Pakistan match in Ahmedabad on October 14.
Afridi has so far picked up 9 wickets from four ODIs in the tournament at an average of 21.44 and a strike rate of 21.33. He picked up a five-for against Australia on Friday but still ended up on the losing side.
What Shastri said about Shaheen
"Shaheen Shah Afridi is no Wasim Akram. He is a good bowler with the new ball and can pick wickets, but there is nothing special about him. He is only a decent bowler. He's no big deal. You have to accept the truth," Shastri had said.
Afridi has been below par in the tournament so far but he answered his critics with the ball against Australia, taking his third five-wicket haul in ODI cricket but Pakistan still lost the match in Bengaluru by 62 runs to suffer their second consecutive defeat in the tournament after the hammering they received against India in Ahmedabad.
Hafeez hits back at Afridi's critics
Hafeez however, asked Afridi's critics to not compare him with anyone and backed the left-arm fast bowler.
"Shaheen’s fifer is a statement to those comments, which someone has made sitting somewhere. Don’t compare Shaheen to anyone.
"Shaheen knows how he has to perform. When ball was going all over the park [against Australia], he made an impact and gave Pakistan hope for a victory," Hafeez said on a local on TV channel.
Pakistan, who are currently fifth on the World Cup points table with two wins from four ODIs, will next face Afghanistan in Match 22 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Monday (October 23).