Cricket legend Shoaib Akhtar feels fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi is playing on Rohit Sharma's mind 'subconsciously" due to the pressures of a high-profile contest like India-Pakistan at the international stage.
Shaheen Afridi dismissed the Indian captain once again when the two teams locked horns in Kandy last week in the Asia Cup 2023.
Rohit's struggles against Afridi's pace and swing started in the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE when the Pakistan pacer got the India opener's wicket off the first ball he faced.
Akhtar points out why Rohit is struggling against Afridi
Rohit has since tried different things against Afridi like changing his batting stance to an more open guard but even that didn't work on Saturday and he was caught behind for 11.
"Yeh Rohit Sharma woh Rohit Sharma hai hi nahi. Yeh uska stunt double hai. Shaheen uske dimaag mein baith gaya hai. (This is not the same Rohit Sharma. This one's a stunt double. Shaheen has conquered his mind).
"I have never seen him change his stance, but what was happening there? Stance change kara, beat hua, bowled hua (He changed his stance and got bowled).
"Shaheen is subconsciously in his mind. This is what pressure of India vs Pakistan match does to players," Akhtar said during a virtual press conference organised by Star Sports.
Rohit 'worrying too much' about Afridi
The Rawalpindi Express, who tormented several top batters during his playing career, feels that Rohit is "worrying too much" about Afridi which is why he is struggling to face the left-arm speedster.
"I think Rohit is unable to read or understand Shaheen. The visual of Rohit Sharma being beaten like this was not good, but he is a far better player than this. Rohit can bat much better than this. I think he is worrying too much," Akhtar had said on his YouTube channel.