‘Rohit, Kohli need not be afraid of Shaheen Afridi’ - Danish Kaneria

Shaheen Afridi might’ve got the better of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the past, but that shouldn’t worry the senior Indian batters, feels Danish Kaneria.
Shaheen Afridi

Shaheen Afridi had returned 3/31 in Pakistan’s historic win over India at the T20 World Cup 2021.

After having excelled in white-ball cricket in England and the Caribbean recently, India, with a relatively inexperienced group, will tour Zimbabwe for three ODIs between August 18 and 22. The prime focus though, lies on the Asia Cup 2022, wherein the team begins its campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium on August 28.

It was at this venue last year, that Pakistan registered a thumping 10-wicket win over India in a T20 World Cup 2021 Super 12s game, their first victory over the rivals in World Cups (ODIs or T20Is) after 12 failed attempts previously.

While skipper Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan sizzled with the bat to seal the 152-run chase with 2.1 overs to spare, the game was set up by Shaheen Shah Afridi, who had rattled the Indian order with a fiery new-ball spell earlier. The left-armer trapped Rohit Sharma leg-before for a first-ball duck, and castled KL Rahul for three in an opening burst, before removing Kohli in closing stages of the innings.

As the excitement builds up for the next contest, former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria feels that Rohit and Kohli need not worry too much about the Afridi challenge, while suggesting ways to counter it.

"No need to be afraid of Shaheen Afridi because Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are world-class batters,” Kaneria said on his YouTube channel. “They just need to be aware that Shaheen will look to bowl fuller and get the ball to swing into them. So they should be prepared to not commit with their leg but negotiate it with the bat by playing closer to the body. Suryakumar Yadav's flick shots over square leg will also be important against Shaheen's bowling."

India's top-order batters have had their struggles against left-arm quicks in the past. Mohammed Amir has sent back each of Rohit, Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan in the Champions Trophy 2017 final at The Oval to script Pakistan’s title win. Recently, Reece Topley bagged a match–winning spell of 6/24 in the second England vs India ODI at Lord’s, so too, did Obed McCoy in the second T20I against the visitors to produce best returns (6/17) by a West Indies bowler in the format.