Ahead of Pakistan’s semifinal clash against New Zealand in the semifinal of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2022 at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday, legendary Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting has revealed Shaheen Afridi, even if not at his fiery best, will be having more impact on the game than most “because of how good he is”.
Afridi has failed to take part in the entire Asia Cup in the UAE and the seven-match T20I series against England at home ahead of the marquee event due to a knee injury, but Ricky Ponting said, even if the tall quick is operating at 90 percent of his capacity, he is better than all the other bowlers. Shaheen Afridi produced his best performance of the World Cup so far when he collected superb figures of 4/22 against Bangladesh on Sunday and that spell helped Pakistan earn the semifinal spot.
During a chat with ICC, Rocky Ponting said, “He might say that he’s not back to 100 percent just yet, but from what I’ve seen it looks like he’s going along beautifully and he now holds the key for Pakistan progressing in the tournament.’
Shaheen Afridi suffered an injury on his right knee while fielding during the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle in July and the recovery and rehabilitation have been slow for the 22-year-old. He went wicketless during Pakistan’s opening couple of matches of the tournament against India and Zimbabwe, but Ponting said he always had faith in the left-arm bowler.
Describing the same, Ricky Ponting said, “(I never had any doubt) as you just know what he’s capable of when he’s out there on the field. And as I said, even if he’s not at 100 percent, if he’s operating at 90 percent, he’s still going to have more of an impact on games than most because of how good he is. So look, he might have had a few worries in the back of his own mind and the Pakistan hierarchy and coaching group might have had a few worries in their mind, but not anymore.”
Ricky Ponting compared Afridi’s return to form to the way India’s Virat Kohli had sprung to life in Australia and indicated sometimes you just need to put your faith in the champion cricketers to produce on the big stage.
The former Australian skipper concluded, “It’s almost a bit like the India scenario with Virat (Kohli) coming into this tournament. Sometimes you just have to stick with them and pick them and let them go because champion players will find a way to get the job done. And as the tournament’s gone on he (Afridi) has got better and better and hopefully the best is still to come.”