PSL 7: Pakistan’s bowling star Shaheen Afridi, who is captaining the Lahore Qalandars in the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) seventh edition 2022, has promised a ‘new vibe’ for Lahore Qalandars in PSL 2022.
As PSL 2022 is the most anticipated sporting event of the year approaches, the PSL fever is growing. The competition is set to begin in Karachi on January 27.
Shaheen told the media during an online pre-tournament chat that he is optimistic that the Qalandars will not disappoint supporters in the forthcoming PSL 7.
“We have practised well in the camp before coming to Karachi and have tried to overcome our mistakes. I assure you that you’ll find Qalandars a totally different team this time. We have played some practice matches and got in mind of how we have to go in the PSL matches,” Shaheen said.
“I am happy to have the best bowling attack in all PSL teams since the top performers of T20 cricket, including Haris Rauf and Rashid Khan, are a part of Lahore Qalandars,” he added.
Shaheen is optimistic about the Qalandars’ future
Qalandars chose the 21-year-old bowler captain earlier this year, replacing the lesser-known Sohail Akhtar, who captained the team in the 2020 and 2021 editions.
Lahore competed in the first-ever PSL final in 2020, where they were defeated by Karachi Kings, under Sohail’s leadership. After a strong start in 2021, Lahore slowed down and lost consecutive matches, eliminating them from contention for the play-offs.
The Qalandars had finished last in each of the previous four seasons.
The new skipper, on the other hand, is optimistic about a better outcome this time.
When asked what change he hopes to make at Qalandars, Shaheen stated that he will want to impress people with his performance and keep the squad cohesive.
“My goal is to contribute with my bowling and as a captain, to set an example for the players. There’s no pressure of captaincy and I don’t think that the leadership will affect my individual performance,” he said.
Shaheen claimed that Shahid Afridi told him not to accept the captaincy, but he ignored his advice.
“He [Afridi] thought that the pressure of captaincy will affect my performance as bowler but I believe that it will not put any impact, instead it will motivate me to do even better and that’s why I chose to accept the offer.”
‘There will be no leniency’
The young bowler expressed his excitement for Lahore Qalandars’ huge PSL encounter against Karachi Kings, which will also be a battle of bowling and batting between him and Babar Azam.
Shaheen, on the other hand, made it clear that he will not show mercy, even if his favourite player is his opponent on the pitch.
“Babar is my favourite player but when he’s opponent, he’s an opponent and there won’t be any leniency. Karachi vs Lahore is an important match and widely followed by fans, I am sure they’ll enjoy a good game,” he said.
“There’s no doubt about Babar’s talent. He’s the top batter and you need to have a magical delivery to get his wicket and that’s what I will do against him — bowl my best,” Shaheen aimed.
In response to a question, the pacer stated that he had no plans to become Pakistan’s captain at this time. Instead, he is pleased with Babar’s command over the team.
“The way Babar is leading the side, I don’t even need to think about being captain, I pray that he continues to lead us for next 10-15 years. However, if I am ever needed for the role, it will be an honor for me,” he said.
“We recently met Prime Minister Imran Khan and got a big support from him,” Shaheen said.
He continued by saying that Prime Minister Khan had told him that fast bowlers make better leaders. “Let’s see how it goes with me,” he remarked.
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