Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has slammed fast bowler and Lahore Qalandars captain Shaheen Shah Afridi for not bowling his full quota of overs against England in T20 World Cup 2022 final last year. Afridi went off injured mid-way through England’s chase of 138 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground while attempting to take a catch of Harry Brook in the 13th over of the innings.
At that stage, Afridi still had a couple of overs to bowl. Akhtar believes that Afridi should have played through his pain and completed his spell in the final.
“Ye tha vo moment jahan par aap superstar ban sakte the. If main hota, to main Pakistan ke liye mar jaata. Mai tod deta ghutna, ghutna jud jayega baad mein. Ye lamha wapas nahi aata. (This was the moment, where you could have become a superstar. Had I been in his place, I would have sacrificed my life for Pakistan’s sake. I wouldn’t care if my knee broke, it would have healed again. But, this moment would have never come back again),” Akhtar told Suno TV.
Shoaib Akhtar’s statement about Shaheen Afridi. He believes Shaheen should have bowled the two overs against England in the T20 World Cup final through pain to become Pakistan’s biggest superstar.
Do you agree with him? pic.twitter.com/wJNaTEkRdG— Farid Khan (@_FaridKhan) February 20, 2023
This isn’t the first time that Shoaib Akhtar is airing his views on this. Following the final last November, the 47-year-old Akhtar had told Zee News, “When your main bowler becomes unfit, then it creates problem for you. Shaheen (Afridi) was never fully fit, but we cannot put the entire blame on him as he bowled well in the past 2-3 matches. But this is World Cup final. Even if the leg breaks. Whatever happens, happens. Just keep running and do something. But this was not in our fortune.
The 23-year-old had been included in the Pakistan squad just ahead of the tournament in Australia, having recovered from the same injury he picked up in the final.
English commentator Alan Wilkins has spoken out in support of Afridi. “It’s an admirable thought but it is also a long time after the event. @iShaheenAfridi couldn’t have bowled on one leg even though he’s got the biggest heart in the team!” Wilkins tweeted.
Afridi was subsequently ruled out of international cricket. for a couple of months and has only returned to active cricket in Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2023 earlier this month.