The Exciting Duel: Shaheen Afridi vs Virat Kohli
Pakistan’s fast bowler Shaheen Afridi has had one successful scalp of India’s ace batsman Virat Kohli. But the anticipation of their third faceoff is rising. How will this showdown unfold?
Shaheen Afridi and Virat Kohli have clashed on the pitch four times, with the Pakistani pacer dismissing the Indian captain once. Despite Kohli’s consistent prowess against Pakistan since 2012, the dynamics remained almost unchanged even when he faced Shaheen, one of the most formidable new-ball bowlers today. Across two innings in the T20 World Cups of 2021 and 2022, Kohli accumulated 34 runs from Afridi, including four boundaries and a six, boasting a strike rate of 154.54.
Their limited encounters so far will be enriched with the upcoming Asia Cup, setting the stage for a more extended faceoff between these cricketing titans.
The air is expected to be thick with excitement on September 2, when the two sides meet in the third Asia Cup of the year. These encounters might not be enough to settle the Shaheen-Kohli score, but as the World Cup looms, the stakes and context will undoubtedly heighten.
Former Australian spinner, Brad Hogg, shared his thoughts on this rivalry. He believes Shaheen might have the upper hand, given his in-swinging deliveries against right-hand batsmen. Hogg stated on Backstage with Boria, “The duel between Shaheen and India’s top order is pivotal. This is where the match between India and Pakistan might be determined.”
Indeed, Kohli’s 34 runs against Shaheen included a game-altering over at the MCG, where he smashed 22 runs, setting the pace for the innings. In contrast, other top-order players have often found themselves perplexed by Shaheen’s bowling.
The rivalry between Kohli and Shaheen has shades of the iconic Wasim Akram-Sachin Tendulkar faceoffs. While Akram’s reverse swing sent shivers down many batsmen’s spines, Sachin was mostly unfazed, with Akram only dismissing him a few times across formats. Their clashes spanned a decade, underscoring the rich India-Pakistan cricketing history.
Hogg also touched upon the Kohli vs. Tendulkar debate, giving a slight edge to Kohli. Reflecting on Kohli’s recent form, Hogg opined, “Kohli’s hunger seems rekindled. The innings he played against Pakistan at the MCG, particularly the shot against Haris Rauf, was among the finest I’ve witnessed in cricket.”
Hogg further elaborated on the immense pressure on Kohli, drawing parallels with the great Sachin Tendulkar. He emphasized, “When Kohli is in the right frame of mind, he dominates the game. My concern for India lies more with their bowling rather than their batting.”
As the cricketing world keenly awaits the next Kohli-Shaheen clash, it promises to be a spectacle of skill, strategy, and raw emotion.