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Shaheen opens up about T20 World Cup squad selection

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Shaheen opens up about T20 World Cup squad selection

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Lahore Qalandars’ captain, Shaheen Afridi, expressed optimism about his team’s performance in the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) despite facing challenges, including the absence of key players and fluctuating form.

In an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, reflecting on the absence of star bowler Rashid Khan, Shaheen acknowledged Rashid’s pivotal role in the team, but expressed hope that the inclusion of Sikandar Raza would prove beneficial in filling the void left by Rashid’s departure.

“Rashid was our main bowler, crucial in the middle overs, taking wickets. He cannot be replaced, but we also need to maintain balance in the team. We hope Sikandar’s arrival will be beneficial,” Shaheen said.

Shaheen highlighted the potential of Sikandar Raza and newcomer Salman Fayyaz, expressing confidence in their ability to step up and perform well, particularly in Rashid’s absence.

“I think Sikandar is the kind of bowler who can fill Rashid’s absence, and then Salman, who played his first match in the PSL, I believe they will step up and perform well,” he further stated.

Shaheen also addressed the challenges faced by bowler Haris Rauf, who has been experiencing a tough phase. Despite Rauf’s current struggles, Shaheen stressed the importance of resilience, citing Rauf’s strength as a player and his ability to bounce back. 

“Just like batsmen face tough times without scoring runs, bowlers also have such phases. Haris is going through a tough time, but after difficulties come ease because he is a strong player and knows how to bounce back. He is not just Lahore Qalandars’ but Pakistan’s best bowler, so it’s important for him to find his form again,” Shaheen said.

Speaking about his role as captain, Shaheen expressed enjoyment in leading the team and expressed his commitment to guiding and supporting the players in both capacities.

“I am enjoying leading my team. I am trying to take the team along with me. It’s a great opportunity because I am not just the captain of Lahore Qalandars but also of Pakistan, so I am taking the players along as well, and enjoying it,” Shaheen said.

Looking ahead, Shaheen emphasized the significance of the ongoing PSL for preparations leading up to the upcoming T20 World Cup.

“We have to see how our 20-25 players perform in the PSL. This is a good opportunity for all of us to prepare for the T20 World Cup,” he further said.

Shaheen also shared his appreciation for playing in front of the home crowd, contrasting it with the atmosphere in Dubai. He emphasized the unparalleled joy of playing in one’s own country.

“We missed this in Dubai. It’s not like that people don’t come to support us in Dubai; everywhere people come to support us, but playing in front of our own crowd, in our own country, is much more enjoyable,” he concluded.