As the ODI World Cup draws near, cricket aficionados globally are buzzing with predictions and speculations. Leading cricket nations like India, Australia, and the defending champions, England, are deemed strong contenders. However, the top-ranked Pakistan team cannot be overlooked, with many anticipating them to reach the semifinals at least.
Amid this environment of suspense and expectation, all eyes are also on the individual superstars set to dazzle during this event, slated for October-November in India. Weighing in with his perspective, the legendary former West Indies captain, Viv Richards, has spotlighted Pakistan’s fast bowler, Shaheen Shah Afridi. He envisions Afridi not just as a standout performer, but as the World Cup’s top wicket-taker.
Richards, expressing his confidence in Afridi, remarked, “I’ve witnessed Shaheen’s growth in Pakistan firsthand. My stint in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) allowed me to observe his monumental evolution. He’s extremely determined and definitely the one to watch.” This endorsement came through a video posted on ICC’s official Instagram channel.
Expected to spearhead Pakistan’s bowling attack in the World Cup, Shaheen had a brief hiatus due to a knee injury after the T20 World Cup in Australia. However, since his comeback, he has been nothing short of spectacular, especially in the 2023 PSL. Leading Lahore Qalandars as captain, his stellar performance in the finals ensured their victory. Following this, he continued his impressive form in the recent ODI series against Afghanistan, securing the title of leading wicket-taker with an average of 16.33.
In the run-up to the World Cup, fans can witness Shaheen’s prowess in the Asia Cup, co-hosted by Sri Lanka and Pakistan from August 30 to September 17.
World Cup 2023: Glimpse into Pakistan’s Itinerary
Pakistan kickstarts its World Cup journey with warm-up games against New Zealand and Australia on September 29 and October 3, respectively. Their first official face-off is against the Netherlands on October 6. Subsequent key fixtures include matches against Sri Lanka on October 10 and a much-anticipated game against India at Ahmedabad’s illustrious Narendra Modi Stadium.