“If a quality batter plays a couple of good shots, it doesn’t mean…”: Former Pakistani Skipper Criticized Shaheen Shah Afridi

The cricket clash between India and Pakistan has always been a spectacle filled with anticipation, tension, and exceptional performances. In the Asia Cup 2023, the spotlight fell on a young Indian talent, Shubman Gill, who left cricket enthusiasts in awe with his fearless batting against Pakistan’s lethal left-arm seamer, Shaheen Afridi.

Shubman Gill, a promising cricketer from Punjab, has been making waves with his exceptional skills and composed demeanour on the field. His performances have already earned him a reputation as a future star of Indian cricket. However, he truly showcased his mettle in the Asia Cup 2023.

Shaheen Afridi, the talented left-arm seamer from Pakistan, had significantly impacted the tournament, dismissing top Indian batters like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the group stage. His ability to swing the ball and pick crucial wickets had the cricketing world excitedly.

As India and Pakistan faced off again in the Super Four stage, fans eagerly awaited a rematch between Shaheen Afridi and the Indian openers. However, what transpired on the field was unexpected and enthralling.

Instead of adopting a cautious approach as they did in their previous meeting, Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill decided to take the attack to Shaheen Afridi. They chose to confront the fiery pace and swing of the young left-arm seamer head-on. The decision to fight fire with fire proved to be a game-changer.

Shubman Gill, in particular, emerged as the wrecker-in-chief in this high-stakes encounter. He unleashed a flurry of elegant and powerful shots, which bewildered the Pakistani bowlers, especially Shaheen Afridi. Gill’s aggressive yet calculated approach paid dividends as he scored a brilliant 58 runs off 52 balls.

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt offered insights into Shaheen Afridi’s performance on his YouTube channel. Butt believed the young seamer was overly impatient and attempted too many variations to pick wickets. He emphasized the need for bowlers to adapt and recognize that quality batters like Shubman Gill are there to play.

“Shubman Gill played attacking cricket early on. Tell me one shot that he didn’t hit against the swinging ball. However, I feel Shaheen Afridi was very impatient. If you get hit, you need to understand that the batter has also come to play. If a quality batter plays a couple of good shots, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t bowl well. Shaheen tried a lot of things. He bowled a few short balls, then some full deliveries, and even went around the stumps. He tried five to six things in those three overs. He got hit because he was trying to take a wicket on every ball,” Butt said on his YouTube channel.

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Butt praised Shubman Gill for handling pressure and playing risk-free cricket. Gill’s elegant strokeplay showcased his mental strength and composure under the spotlight. Butt’s assessment highlighted that a new batting superstar had emerged on the international cricket scene.

“Shubman Gill played elegant shots. He did not try to slog or play risky cricket. There was a lot of hype surrounding Pakistan’s bowling attack. To play in this fashion under such pressure shows that he is mentally very strong. This is great news for international cricket because a new batting superstar has arrived,” Butt concluded.

The clash between India and Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023 Super Four stage gave cricket enthusiasts unforgettable moments. Shubman Gill’s fearless and elegant batting against Shaheen Afridi demonstrated his potential to be a future stalwart of Indian cricket. This thrilling encounter will be in fans’ memories on both sides of the border.

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