Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi© AFP
The ICC T20 World Cup has reached the semifinal stage and all eyes are on the big guns to fire in the knockout rounds. For India, the man of the moment is Suryakumar Yadav as the No.4 batter’s ability to hit shots to all parts of the ground at a very high strike-rate has been the key differentiator for the team. Surya has earned praise from all quarters, including former Pakistan cricketers. With Pakistan also in the semifinals and their openers struggling for runs in the tournament, former skipper Shahid Afridi had a word of advice for Mohammad Rizwan, who has often been criticised for his low strike rate.
During a discussion on Samaa TV, the anchor told Afridi that once a reporter had asked Rizwan whether he was open to making changes in his playing style so that opposition bowlers can’t create plans against him and that the Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter had said that he would continue to play the way he does. The anchor went on to give the example of Suryakumar Yadav and asked whether Rizwan should take a leaf out of the Indian’s book.
To this Afridi responded, “The most important thing about Suryakumar is that he has played 200-250 matches in domestic circuit before coming to international cricket. He knows his game. And he can target the good balls as well because he practises those shots. In this format, you need to evolve as a batter and develop your game.”
Speaking about Rizwan and his struggles Afridi pointed out that the Pakistan opener will have to take risks and play shots through the off side and for that he needs to practice those shots.
“We have already discussed this that every team does its homework before coming to a World Cup. For Rizwan, they’ve planned not to bowl him in the middle as he plays good shots towards deep square-leg and midwicket. He struggles towards the off-side.
“He will have to come down the track and take risks. He will have to make gaps towards mid-off and extra-cover and for this he will have to practice these strokes,” Afridi said.
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