Exciting Pakistan pace bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi is set to be key to the Green Shirts’ hopes of success in their upcoming ODI series in South Africa.
Babar Azam will lead Pakistan in a three-match series against the Proteas, with the first game taking place at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday.
South Africa enter as favourites due to their home advantage and the fact that they are currently one spot above the tourists in the ICC ODI Rankings (fifth).
Pakistan have plenty of talented white-ball players, though, and will fancy their chances of causing an upset.
Pakistan pace bowler Afridi key to South Africa ODI series hopes
The underdogs will have to take wickets at regular intervals if they are to triumph and one man who will be key to that quest is exciting left-arm pace bowler, Afridi.
At just 20 years old, he has a long career ahead of him, but he’s no newbie at the international level.
He’s already represented Pakistan on 58 occasions across all formats, with 22 of those outings coming in ODIs.
Generally speaking, South Africa is a good place for batting, but pitches in the country usually provide something for bowlers.
Seam movement is often available, while bounce is regularly a big factor.
At 6ft 6″, Afridi is well-equipped to extract the latter when it’s on offer, while his excellent seam presentation ensures he’s always in with a chance of finding the former.
He’ll have a big job to do with the new ball against the likes of Quinton de Kock – who has been released from the burden of captaincy – and also at the death, with power-hitters like David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen sure to capitalise should targets be missed.
Afridi has 45 wickets from his 22 outings in this format at an excellent average of 21.64 [ESPNCricinfo] and if the pace bowler can lead from the front in South Africa, Pakistan have a chance.