Asia Cup 2023

Asia Cup 2023: India will have to be conservative against Shaheen Afridi, says Mathew Hayden

Matthew Hayden highlighted the challenges the Indian batting lineup will face against the formidable Pakistan pace trio of Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Naseem Shah.

Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah have emerged into one of the most potent bowling attacks in the world game. Their clash against India’s top order has been a fascinating battle in recent times. On Saturday in Kandy, the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli are once again handed the strong challenge of facing this premium trio.

The former Australian opener Mathew Hayden even went as far as to say, “India is playing against Pakistan’s pace trio” during an interaction in Star Sports.

“Well, I can tell you this is one of the spiciest competitions on the planet. We’ve got Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Naseem. Three very different types of bowlers and unique bowlers which require unique plans from Team India.” he added.

The conditions in Kandy though for the second game of the Asia Cup 2023 between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have been slow, traditionally The pitch here has helped seamers in the past and does tend to bounce a little more than other surfaces in Sri Lanka.

“Firstly, the conditions here in Kandy tend to have quite a lot of bounce, so you’ve got to watch that out, especially Haris Rauf. He’ll want to really hustle in and hit the top of off stump,” tells the former Pakistan mentor.

The big Shaheen Afridi problem

In the last few encounters between these two sides, Shaheen versus the Indian openers has become the primary narrative. The left-arm seamer’s ability to move the new ball both ways has caused a lot of trouble. “ You’ve got to be conservative against Shaheen Afridi,” reckons the former Australian opener.

The sight of Shaheen running with the new ball in Dubai in the 2021 T20 World Cup would still be haunting both Indian fans and the batters. “Remember back to the World Cup more recently; Shaheen was able to take early wickets. We’ll never forget that ball that he bowled to Captain Rohit Sharma,” recalled Hayden.

Also Read: India vs Pakistan: What happened when arch-rivals last faced in ODI cricket?

Rohit who has been gaining a reputation for having a weakness against facing left-arm seam at the time confirmed it in the first over of that game when he had no answers to Shaheen’s incoming delivery which trapped him in front of wickets and set the tone for the rest of the innings.

Hayden also provided a solution on what India must do to deal with this “If it’s swinging, look to play out those first three overs,” he would say. He also suggests squeezing runs from the other end against Naseem Shah.

Though Naseem is not a prolific swinging bowler he is very quick. However, this Indian batting lineup has shown no signs of problems against pace bowling in the past.

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