Shaheen Afridi has been one of the revelations of the T20 World Cup.
Afridi is the latest in the assembly line of great fast bowling talents from Pakistan, a country that has produced legends like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Imran Khan and Shoaib Akhtar.
Afridi is a bowlers who seems to have everything. He has seam, he has swing and most importantly he has genuine pace.
Let’s look at his background.
Early life and career
Shaheen was born on 6th April in the year 2000 and he belongs to the Zakhakhel Afridi tribe of the Pashtuns.
He grew up in Landi Kotal which is a town in the Khyber District, Pakistan, on the border with Afghanistan.
He was born in a family of 7 and he is the youngest of his seven brothers.
His eldest brother who is 15 years senior to him, Riaz Afridi, has also represented Pakistan and played only a single Test match for his country in 2004.
Shaheen Afridi started playing cricket from the Tatara Ground located in Landi Kotal, this ground is named after the nearby Tatara hills.
His brother Riaz Afridi introduced him to the hard-ball cricket at the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) Under-16 trials in 2015.
Shaheen had played only the tennis-ball cricket until then.
Shaheen got selected for the Under-16 tour to Australia in November 2015 where he played a crucial part in his team victory by picking four wickets.
Domestic and T20 career
Shaheen Afridi was selected in the Pakistan Under-19 cricket team for the 2016 Under-19 Asia Cup hosted by Sri Lanka.
In their opening match of the U-19 Asia Cup, Shaheen took 3 wickets for just 27 runs in his side’s nine wickets victory over Singapore.
Shaheen Afridi was signed for a two-year contract in early September 2017 with the Dhaka Dynamites which is one of the biggest BPL franchises.
He made his first-class debut for the Khan Research Laboratories in the 2017–18 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and took 8 wickets for just 39 runs in the second innings of the match.
This was the best bowling figure by a Pakistani bowler on his first-class debut.
Afridi was included in Pakistan’s squad for the 2018 Under-19 Cricket World Cup in December 2017.
He picked up 12 wickets in the tournament and was the highest wicket-taker for Pakistan in that event.
He was named as the rising star of the squad by the International Cricket Council (ICC) due to his brilliant performance
Shaheen made his PSL debut for the Lahore Qalandars which gave him nationwide exposure.
He played the 2018 PSL and in a match against the Multan Sultans, he took 5 wickets for just 6 runs that were enough to prove that how much talented he is.
Shaheen was selected in the Balochistan squad in the year 2018.
Shaheen was also signed by Hampshire County Cricket Club in 2019.
He bowled well in that tournament and in a round match, he took a brilliant hat-trick and dismissed 4 batters in 4 balls. He finished that spell with brilliant figures of 6-19
In October 2021, Shaheen signed with Middlesex to play in the domestic matches in England until July 2022.
On 3 December 2018, he made his Test debut for Pakistan against the black caps.
He was also selected in Pakistan’s squad for the ICC ODI World Cup 2019.
He didn’t get a chance to play in the first few matches but when he got the chance he grabbed it with both hands and bowled superbly.
It was also the best bowling figure by a Pakistani bowler in a world cup match. He was named the rising star of the squad by ICC.
He continued to bowl superbly, and he already has 3 five wickets haul in test cricket in his short career so far.
There is no doubt that he has the ability to become a fast bowling legend in the near future.