Pak vs WI: Shaheen Afridi lays out strategy for pacers looking to get wickets in T20Is

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BRIDGETON: Fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi is all set for his first tour of the Caribbean and is eager to utilise the full range of deliveries in his arsenal when Pakistan take on the West Indies in a five-match T20I series, which commences July 27.

Speaking to pcb.com.pk on the sidelines of the national side’s training session, Shaheen said: “Considering the true nature of the pitches in T20Is, the pacers have to rely on variations to unsettle batsmen and get wickets. One can even consider delivering two to three slower balls in an over.

“I do not shy away from using the slower balls. If the situation of the match demands and after reading a batsman, I will even bowl a slower ball in the first over. Understanding the conditions early on plays a vital role in deciding when and how one has to take the pace off the ball. As a bowler, one does understand what the conditions are — whether there is any swing in the air — after a couple of deliveries,” he said.

“T20 is fast-paced cricket and it keeps you on your toes. One needs to be quick in decision-making and correct in deciding when to bowl the slower ball,” the pacer said. 

West Indies are the current world champions and the only side to win two T20 World Cups. 

Shaheen said that having strong plans and bowling in partnerships will be important, as the hosts will be fielding a side that has players with vast experience gained from various T20 franchise tournaments around the globe, 

“West Indies are considered to be a specialist T20 side. Their players play T20 cricket around the world and are familiar with most of the bowlers in the circuit. It can get a little tough to bowl at them, but having solid plans will help us.

“Bowling in partnerships is crucial. When the ball starts to reverse in the death overs, that is where Hasan Ali and Haris Rauf come in. We have discussions with each other on when we need to take the pace off the ball or bowl quick.”

Considering the fast-paced nature of T20 cricket, Shaheen believes that slower deliveries play a crucial role in the success of a fast bowler and they will be an integral part of his plans throughout the five T20Is, which will mark the national side’s first assignment in the format in the Caribbean since 2017 when they won the four-match series 3-1.

Shaheen has been one of the most successful left-arm quicks in the format since his debut on 3 April 2018 against the West Indies at Karachi’s National Stadium and has emerged into a frontline bowler for the national side.

The 21-year-old has snared 31 wickets at 26.22 in 28 matches and is the second best left-arm pacer (in terms of wickets) behind West Indies’ Sheldon Cottrell (33 wickets at 21.69).

The five-match T20I series will be played across two venues – Kensington Oval in Barbados and Providence Stadium in Guyana – before Pakistan and West Indies lock horns in two Tests.

Schedule of Pak vs WI T20I series 2021:

27 Jul – 1st T20I, Kensington Oval, Barbados

28 Jul – 2nd T20I, Kensington Oval, Barbados

31 Jul – 3rd T20I, Providence Stadium, Guyana

1 Aug – 4th T20I, Providence Stadium, Guyana

3 Aug – 5th T20I, Providence Stadium, Guyana

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