On October 23, India plays Pakistan in Melbourne to open the T20 World Cup 2022. Pakistan has benefited by Shaheen Afridi’s return after an extended absence owing to injury and subsequent recovery, while India has been hurt by injuries to key players. The left-arm pacer has historically been quite a challenge for the Indian top order. While his match readiness will be evaluated in the coming days, if he becomes match-ready in time for the India game, he might be a difficult opponent.
Gautam Gambhir opened up on how the Indian batters should try and keep Shaheen at bay. “When it comes to Shaheen Afridi, don’t look to survive. Look to score runs from him. Because the moment you look to survive, everything becomes really small. Whether it’s your backlift, whether it’s your footwork, and obviously, in T20 cricket you can’t look to survive,” Gautam Gambhir said. “I know that he can be dangerous with the new ball, but again, irrespective, the Indian batters need to score more runs, get into better positions, and look to time the balls rather than to hit it. India will be fine because India has got the quality in their top 3 or 4 who can definitely take on Shaheen Shah Afridi.”
Irfan Pathan stated: “Look, one thing is clear. When you play at the MCG, the straight boundaries are not that big. It’s the side boundaries that are massive. Obviously, India needs to be smart, especially the batting. Probably, it will be difficult to hit the side boundaries, so they have to play the gaps and probably convert the twos into threes and ones into twos, because running between the wickets will very important.”