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  5. 'I am still fit and young': Shaheen Afridi quashes talks about dip in pace

'I am still fit and young': Shaheen Afridi quashes talks about dip in pace

Pakistan's T20I captain Shaheen Afridi has rejected claims that his pace has gone down significantly compared to when he first burst on to the international arena. However, he isn't worried much about it and claims that he can still bowl in excess of 140-145 kph.

Aditya Kukalyekar Written By: Aditya Kukalyekar @adikukalyekar New Delhi Published on: February 21, 2024 11:57 IST
Shaheen Afridi, Pakistan
Image Source : GETTY Shaheen Afridi

Shaheen Afridi and his pace has been the talking point ever since he returned from injury last year. Moreover, the matter was highlighted again during Pakistan's Test tour of Australia in December-January when the speed0meter allegedly showed his pace around 130-135 kph. However, Pakistan's T20I captain has rejected all the claims stating that he can still bowl deliveries at 140-145 kph regularly but insists that one cannot bowl each ball at the said speed in T20 cricket.

He is currently leadng Lahore Qalandars in the ongoing edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and the team has got off to a poor start losing two matches in as many outings. Keeping aside the performance of the team under his captaincy, when asked about his dipping pace, Shaheen stated that he is still very much fit and young. "I know I can still bowl 140 or 145, but you have to do everything when the time is right. In T20 cricket, no bowler bowls 140-plus as their average ball. In T20 cricket, you only need to bowl three or four balls at express pace.

"There are a lot of slower balls, variations, and the like. I have never felt my pace has dipped. I know I can bowl 140 or 145. I'm still fit and young, just 23," Shaheen said while speaking to ESPNCricinfo. Meanwhile, PSL has also affected this year due to so many overseas players pulling out of the tournament after featuring in the T20 leagues like SA20 and ILT20. But Afridi feels local players need to be valued and deserve all the respect. "I don't understand this criticism. People say big players not coming here affects the league. But look at our local players. When they go to an overseas league, they're the biggest names in those leagues.

"Whenever the boys have gone abroad for a league, their value was the highest. We have to respect and value the local players in our league, and if we do that, our league's prominence will continue to rise. Players from abroad may have their own reasons for not coming, but the local players have huge value and deserve respect," the left-arm pace bowler added.

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