What is it about Pakistan and fast bowlers? The country seems to produce fast bowlers at the drop of a hat from what looks like a ceaseless assembly line with likes of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis as some illustrious examples to think about. And just when it appeared that the pipeline of amazing fast bowlers was running dry, a young teenager by the name of Shaheen Shah Afridi emerged to confound any naysayers.
Marked from his Under-19 days as the one to watch out for by the likes of India Under-19 coach Rahul Dravid, and identified as a special talent by Mickey Arthur, the Pakistan think-tank pounced on the opportunity to fast-track the youngster to the senior team and he hasn’t disappointed his admirers since his ODI debut against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup. His height and pace form a lethal combination which many batsmen of international repute have found to their discomfort. The youngster already has taken 19 wickets in 10 ODIs to date with a best showing of 4/38 against New Zealand and it is expected that he could easily do more damage to opposing teams if he continues to fulfill the promise of his talent.
His ability to learn coupled with his raw pace will be exactly what Pakistan will need as they look for early wickets at the World Cup. The pitches in England are likely to be more conducive to Afridi's style of bowling and he could be a handful for opposing batsmen to deal with. The Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood has put a lot of faith in the talent of Afridi which tells a story in itself. Having vital experience of some international cricket under his belt, the 19-year-old Afridi is expected to play a crucial role for the 1992 World Cup winners as they look to regain past glory in England this summer.
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