They say to grab eyeballs, perform at the biggest stage against the toughest opponents. That’s one of the reasons why Pakistani fast bowlers are rated so highly. Wahab Riaz did it during the 2015 World Cup while Hasan Ali did it during the Champions Trophy.
Following his seniors’ footsteps, the 19-year old Shaheen Afridi too impressed everyone in the 2019 World Cup with a stellar performance in England a month ago. The 6-foot 6-inch left-arm pacer from Pakhtunkhwa broke made it to the international arena only 18 months ago but has left everyone impressed by his skills.
Shaheen finished 9th in the top wicket-takers list with 16 wickets despite playing just 5 games- almost half of those above him. He had the 2nd best strike rate after Mohammed Shami and the 4th best bowling average after ‘of course’ Angelo Mathews, Vijay Shankar and Mohammed Shami.
There’s no surprise then that he has garnered interest from the Australian domestic teams ahead of the upcoming Big Bash League (BBL) season. Another 19-year old Pakistani, Mohammad Hasnain, who debuted in April, has also been approached, and so has been all-rounder Faheem Ashraf.
“BBL teams like Hobart and Sydney are interested in signing Pakistani players,” the source said while speaking to Geo TV.
Waiting for PCB’s approval
Having been approached, the cricketers are now waiting for the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) permission to proceed with the contracts. It is believed they might get the nod, in order to prepare themselves for the upcoming T20 World Cup as they are all in the fold. While Shaheen played the World Cup, Hasnain was in the squad though he could not make the XI. Meanwhile, Ashraf was a late omission.
Not first encounter with franchise cricket
It is not the first time that Shaheen Afridi has been approached to play in franchise cricket. He played for Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League in 2018 before making his debut for Pakistan. He was earlier approached by the Dhaka Dynamites but had to decline the offer to prepare himself for the U19 World Cup. Meanwhile, Hasnain came into the limelight earlier this year during the PSL, due to his fierce bowling for the Quetta Gladiators.
~Written by Mohit Raj
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