India has a long history of struggling against quality left-arm pace bowling. And not only Shaheen Shah Afridi has outclassed their openers multiple times in the ICC events. But other left-armers in the world of cricket have made the lives of the Indian openers much more complex than any other bowlers. This indicates that India has to work on this department to win this World Cup.
This year, the Cricket World Cup will start on 5 October 2023. The men in Blue will want to recreate the moments of joy from the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. However, they are facing a severe issue: their openers can’t adjust to left-arm pacers early on in the game.
The list goes on.
Shaheen Shah Afridi alone has embarrassed Indian openers multiple times. Whether it is the 2016 T20 World Cup, the 2021 T20 CWC, or the recent Asia Cup debacle, he has always gotten the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Co early on in the game. It is like his first over is an event on its own. People know he will get wickets, and it excites them.
And no one can forget the classic spell Mohammad Amir bowled to India during the 2017 Champions Trophy final. He claimed the wickets of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, which cost India that final.
But these were the Pakistani pacers. India also has to worry about Trent Boult, Mitchell Starc, Reece Topely, and Shoriful.
A sign of redemption?
But you must be thinking their batters destroyed Shaheen Shah Afridi during their second match in the Asia Cup. Is that a good sign? Sure. But can they do that again? We doubt that.
The pitch conditions during that day hardly had any spice for the fast bowlers. And the wickets Indian pacers got were because of the change of surface. The rain had affected the play. And it happened during their final against Sri Lanka as well.
It is a psychological advantage for Rohit Sharma and Co. They seem to have broken the curse but must survive the other spells repeatedly.
Will India be able to Play Shaheen?
The debate will never end. The India vs Pakistan match is always an event that seems like a full-scale war. Fans always indulge in these debates, and it seems like none of the sides will ever admit whether their players struggle against each other.
So, who should we listen to? Rohit Sharma admitted before the Asia Cup that Shaheen is always a nightmare. Shaheen swings that ball in from over the wicket, and the Indians do not have a reply to that so far.
So, will they be able to play Shaheen? Fans should anticipate that iconic Afridi celebration on the pitch if there is even a hint of swing.