HomeSportsShadab Khan on Shaheen Afridi's Captaincy and T20 World Cup Hopes

Shadab Khan on Shaheen Afridi’s Captaincy and T20 World Cup Hopes

Over the years, Pakistan has been blessed with many versatile cricketers, and Shadab Khan is one of them. While he has not played a Test match since August 2020, Shadab has become a key player in Pakistan’s white-ball teams and has had success in franchise cricket. Recently, he led Islamabad United to their third Pakistan Super League (PSL) title, making them the most successful team in the tournament’s history.

Pakistan is preparing for the T20 World Cup with high morale despite a recent series defeat in England. Shadab, speaking candidly with Amer Malik, shared his views on various topics, including his ambitions, the importance of mentors, and his thoughts on the upcoming World Cup.

The Role of Mentors

Shadab Khan

Shadab Khan emphasized the critical role mentors play in a cricketer’s life. He highlighted the support he received from Saqlain Mushtaq, his father-in-law, and Rehan Ul Haq at Islamabad United. “Social media criticism can bring a sportsperson down, so having the right support and advice is essential,” he said. Mentors help players maintain a positive mindset, which is crucial for success at the highest levels.

Shadab Khan: Batting Position Preferences

Shadab Khan

In the PSL, Shadab Khan batted at No. 4 and performed well for Islamabad United. However, in international cricket, he often plays a floating role. He believes batting higher up the order allows him to contribute more effectively, but he is ready to adapt based on the team’s needs. “Every player wishes to play in the top order, but I have gained respect in whichever position I play,” he stated.

The Training Camp Experience

Before the Ireland series, the Pakistan team spent ten days at an army camp in Kakul. Shadab Khan found the camp beneficial for fitness but thought it could have been better timed. “Many players had recently played a substantial amount of cricket, and some were undergoing physical rehabilitation,” he noted. Despite these challenges, the camp fostered a conducive training environment.

Shaheen Afridi’s Captaincy Stint

Shaheen Afridi’s Captaincy Stint

Shadab believes Shaheen Afridi should have been given a longer run as Pakistan’s T20I captain. Afridi led the team in a series against New Zealand, which Pakistan lost 1-4. “From Shaheen’s point of view, things shouldn’t have changed so rapidly. A system should have been in place to ensure consistency and provide consistent results,” Shadab said. He acknowledged that Babar Azam’s return brings experience, but feels Afridi deserved more time to prove himself.

T20 World Cup Challenges

Looking ahead to the T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies, Shadab expects familiar conditions in the West Indies but anticipates slight differences in the USA. “I played in the Major League Cricket last year and found the conditions similar to other grounds around the world,” he explained. Shadab considers Australia and England as the toughest competitors due to their strong track records in T20 cricket.

Team Strategy and Focus Areas

Shadab highlighted the importance of the middle overs in both batting and bowling for Pakistan’s success. “Taking wickets in the middle overs and utilizing those overs in batting improves our chances of success,” he said. Under the guidance of new coaches Azhar Mahmood and Gary Kirsten, Shadab believes the team is moving positively, though he acknowledges that it takes time to adjust to new coaching styles.

Emerging Talents

Shadab praised young players like Saim Ayub and Azam Khan, seeing them as future stars for Pakistan. He emphasized the need to give these players time to develop and gain confidence in their abilities. “Saim Ayub is an exceptional talent and needs a long run in the international setup to reach his full potential,” Shadab said.

Message to Fans

Shadab urged fans to support the team as a whole rather than focusing on individual players. “When we play for Pakistan, we work together as a team, and we want the fans to follow suit. Unity is key to success,” he stated.

As Pakistan embarks on its T20 World Cup journey, Shadab’s insights and leadership will be crucial. His balanced view on team dynamics, player development, and strategic focus areas provide a solid foundation for Pakistan’s quest for World Cup glory.