Manjrekar advises Indian batsmen on facing Shaheen Afridi ahead of India-Pakistan clash
With the India-Pakistan Asia Cup Super Four match approaching, former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar offers advice to India’s top-order batsmen on facing Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi.
As the highly-anticipated India-Pakistan clash in the Asia Cup Super Four approaches in Colombo, all eyes are on how the Indian batsmen will handle Pakistan’s pace spearhead, Shaheen Shah Afridi.
In a previous Asia Cup Group A match at Pallekele, Afridi emerged as Pakistan’s standout bowler, securing figures of 4-35 as India was dismissed for 266. Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar shared insights on how India’s top-order batsmen should prepare to face Afridi in the upcoming high-stakes encounter.
Manjrekar noted, “The match between India and Pakistan was an intriguing battle between Shaheen Afridi and India’s top three batsmen – Gill, Rohit, and Virat. In the initial phase, before the rain interruption, Afridi was delivering his trademark deliveries, pitching the ball up and aiming for inward swing. However, this length was well handled by Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma.”
Despite testing openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, Shaheen Afridi achieved success after the first rain interruption during India’s innings. He found movement to dismiss Rohit and troubled Virat Kohli, eventually claiming his wicket as well. This remarkable spell made Shaheen Afridi the first bowler in international cricket to dismiss Rohit and Kohli via “bowled” mode of dismissal in an ODI match during his electrifying opening spell.
Manjrekar further explained, “Instead of persisting with his usual strategy of pitching the ball further up, which he believed was his primary weapon for swing, Afridi received guidance to shorten his length after the rain break. It was during this period, in the good length deliveries, that Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli were dismissed. Therefore, it wasn’t the typical Shaheen Afridi deliveries that troubled the Indian batsmen; it was the shorter length and the resultant movement off the pitch.”
Manjrekar emphasized the need for India’s top-order batsmen to prepare for these types of deliveries. However, he noted that both Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill had effectively handled Afridi’s swinging deliveries.
He also praised Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya for their contributions in a previous match. In that encounter, India found themselves at 66-4 before Kishan and Pandya, scoring 82 and 87 respectively, formed a crucial partnership of 138 runs.
Manjrekar concluded, “The India-Pakistan match didn’t produce a result, but it was a positive outcome for India. The key result India wanted was the contributions from Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan. Both players displayed versatility and adapted to the situation, deviating from their natural game. It was a significant find for India, and their partnership during the ‘boring phase’ of 50-over cricket was commendable, considering they prioritized the team’s needs.”