Shaheen’s Poor Run – A Sign of Worry for Pakistan in ODI World Cup?

Shaheen Afridi, Pakistan’s prime and best bowler, was at the top of his game during the 2021 T20I World Cup. He delivered match-winning performances and troubled the world’s best batsmen with his fiery pace and lethal swing. However, fate had something else in store for him, and he suffered a debilitating ligament injury that forced him to the sidelines. Since his return, we have witnessed Shaheen’s decline, and he has not been able to find his rhythm back. Will Shaheen Afridi regain his lost form in time for the upcoming ODI World Cup, or will Shaheen’s poor run continue to haunt Pakistan’s chances?

Shaheen’s Poor Run: Not in the Same Rhythm

Since his unfortunate injury, Shaheen Afridi’s once-inimitable bowling action has been out of sync, and he has been unable to find his stride. Shaheen also missed the Asia Cup 2022 due to his injury. His once effortless rhythm has been replaced with a laboured and mechanical motion, indicative of an incomplete recovery. The uncertainty surrounding his physical health has dented his confidence, which has had a domino effect on his performance. He seems to be struggling with his variations and cannot hit the right pace with the same precision that once made him a formidable force in world cricket. As a result, his pace and swing have been visibly subdued.

Also Read: We have made Shaheen’s injury an enigma – Dr. Nauman Niaz

Not Bowling Well in Death Overs, Going for Many Runs

Shaheen Afridi’s struggles in the death overs have been a significant cause for worry for Pakistan. The fast bowler has been expensive in the final overs of the innings and has conceded crucial runs that have cost Pakistan matches. His inability to execute yorkers and slower deliveries at the death has made him predictable, and batsmen have taken advantage of his shortcomings. Furthermore, his lack of confidence has led to him overusing short-pitched deliveries, which have been dispatched by the opposition batters.

Focusing on Batting: Affecting His Bowling

Shaheen Afridi is trying to focus on his batting, and we have seen on many occasions that he has promoted himself up the order, which is affecting his bowling. While his intentions are noble, his poor form with the ball has made him a liability for Pakistan. Furthermore, his struggles with the bat have meant that he has failed to make a significant impact, which has put extra pressure on Pakistan’s batting lineup. Therefore, it is essential for Shaheen Afridi to prioritize his bowling and work on his weaknesses to regain his form.

Utilizing Him in Powerplay Overs

Pakistan can utilize Shaheen Afridi’s skills by giving him overs in the powerplay and not using him in the death overs. The left-arm pacer has been lethal with the new ball and has the ability to swing the ball both ways. Moreover, his height and bounce make him a challenging proposition for batsmen to deal with in the early overs. Therefore, Pakistan can use him as a strike bowler in the powerplay and then bring him back for a spell in the middle overs when the ball is old and reverse-swing is possible.

Shaheen Poor Form A Worry For Pakistan?

Shaheen’s poor run is a sign of worry for Pakistan ahead of the ODI World Cup. As the team’s leading bowler, he has been relied upon to take wickets and restrict runs in crucial moments. However, his recent dip in form has raised concerns about his ability to perform in high-pressure situations. Although Pakistan has a few capable replacements in Ihsanullah and Wasim Junior, Shaheen’s absence from the squad would be a significant blow to the team’s chances. 

Nevertheless, it is essential for Shaheen to regain his form and become the lethal weapon he once was. The onus is on him to work on his weaknesses and ensure that he is at his best come the World Cup. The team management must support him in his endeavour and give him the necessary confidence to unleash his full potential on the field. If Shaheen can return to his old form, Pakistan’s chances in the World Cup will undoubtedly improve.

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