Shaheen Shah Afridi, the 23-year-old pace bowler from Pakistan, has a lifelong passion and attachment with cricket that started in his childhood.
Growing up in a family of seven cricket-loving brothers, Shaheen’s commitment to the sport was unwavering. He would even wear cricket pads to bed and place stumps next to his pillow, dreaming of becoming a cricketer.
Despite Pakistan’s recent challenges in the cricketing world, Shaheen’s dedication to the sport remains unquestionable. Hailing from Landi Kotal, near the Afghan border, he immersed himself in cricket from a young age, not only playing but also watching matches with intense devotion.
His mood would depend on Pakistan’s performance, and he would only feel content when Pakistan won or when he performed well on the field.
Shaheen has now become one of the most feared opening bowlers in cricket. His journey began when he attended a trial to join a regional Under-15 team in 2015.
His tall stature and rapid bowling action immediately caught the selectors’ attention, and he quickly proved his talent by taking 12 wickets in the championship. This success led to his inclusion in the Pakistan Under-16 team for a tour to Australia in 2016.
During one of these matches, former Australian captain Steve Waugh predicted that Shaheen would be a future star.
Shaheen’s journey continued when he joined Khan Research Laboratories, which also fields a First-Class cricket side. In his First-Class debut in 2017, he took eight wickets for 39 runs, a performance still regarded as the best First-Class debut by a bowler in Pakistan.
Shaheen’s exceptional talent, flawless bowling action, and dedication to the sport earned him recognition from mentors like Aqib Javed, a former Pakistan cricketer.
He made his debut for Pakistan’s Twenty20 side in 2018 and impressed with his pace in the 2019 World Cup, where he took 16 wickets in five matches, including a standout performance of 6-35 against Bangladesh at Lord’s.
Established as Pakistan’s dominant bowler, Shaheen continued to shine in the 2021 Twenty20 World Cup, where he played a pivotal role in defeating India, taking the wickets of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Virat Kohli with figures of 3-31.
Shaheen Shah Afridi has risen to become a cricketing sensation, carrying the hopes of Pakistan on his shoulders in international competitions.