Left-arm seamer running in and swinging it with pace—isn’t it something that the Indian top order has been most vulnerable to in recent times?
There are enough pieces of evidence to say that it really is a problem that India hasn’t found a solution to, not yet at least! So, when India takes on arch-rivals Pakistan in the T20 World Cup opener on October 23, will this threat loom large for Rohit Sharma and his men?
Statistics: Ayan Acharya
Shaheen Afridi, who wreaked havoc the last time India and Pakistan locked horns in World Cup, has been struggling with a knee injury. The last match he played was back in July and has remained out of action since.
But the left-arm quick is all set to take the field in the upcoming T20 World Cup. Will he be as lethal as he was the last time around? Coming from injury and playing directly in a mega event like the World Cup is never easy for any player. Especially for bowlers, it takes some time to get back in the groove.
We recently saw that India’s Jasprit Bumrah looked rusty against Australia after coming back from an injury. He was though shortly ruled out again as the injury returned with a higher impact. However, the case seems to be different with “110% fit Shaheen Afridi”
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja recently told Dawn News, "When we spoke (Ramiz and Shaheen), Shaheen said, 'I'm already 110% (fit), so don't worry. I'll play practice matches too and will be ready for the match against India'."
Crucial game time
This means Shaheen will take part in Pakistan’s two warm-up games ahead of the World Cup against England and Afghanistan. Although practice matches aren’t of too much importance, they could give the much-needed game time for the 22-year-old to get back into the rhythm.
Indian batters, especially the top order comprising Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli, will have to be extra careful, given their past struggles against left-arm pacers in general, Shaheen in specific.
The Pakistan pacer will enter the contest with huge confidence despite coming from the injury, considering how effective he was last year in Dubai. However, Indian batters too would come up with plans to counter him! In all ways, it is going to be a cracker of a contest! Shaheen or Indian batters—whosoever triumphs would make a huge impact on the overall result of the match.
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