Shaheen Afridi: 'Focus is to improve, work hard and stay ready’

After registering a six-wicket haul against Bangladesh, Shaheen Afridi made it clear that he wants to keep the momentum going and learn as ‘as much as possible’ from the seniors.

Shaheen Afridi became the youngest ever bowler to claim a five-wicket haul in the World Cup when his six for 35 helped Pakistan dismiss Bangladesh for 221.   -  Getty Images

This has been a World Cup to remember for Shaheen Shah Afridi. The 19-year-old Pakistan pacer featured in just six games but scalped 16 wickets.

READ: Pakistan finds another Afridi to end campaign on a high

Afridi’s rise has been meteoric. He played in the under-19 World Cup in New Zealand last year, and since then has gone on to represent the senior national side in all three formats of the game.

After taking six wickets against Bangladesh at Lord’s on July 5, the soft-spoken youngster said in an interview that he aims to keep the momentum going and learn as much as possible from the seniors in the national side.

You took 16 wickets and made heads turn. How do you see your performance in the tournament?

By the grace of god, I could perform so well. In the last five matches, I got 16 wickets, so that’s a great thing for me. In the 17 matches that I have played, I have scalped 40 wickets (his tally is 42 in 19 matches). The focus is to improve my game, work hard and stay ready for the future.

After an extremely successful World Cup outing, what are your targets for the future?

The target is to represent Pakistan at the highest level for long and take as many wickets as possible. I want to work hard and keep performing for my team.

Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, two greats of the game, are elated with your performance. During the World Cup, you often consulted them on your bowling style and approach. How much of an impact did their suggestions have on your performance?

A lot! Wasim bhai and Waqar bhai taught me a lot during the tournament. With them around, I could talk to them and learn a thing or two. Their advice definitely helped me. They taught me how to stay cool and handle pressure situations. As a young cricketer, I try and learn the most from the senior and seasoned players. They have gone through this and, as a result, they know what problems a youngster faces.

“The target is to represent Pakistan at the highest level for long and take as many wickets as possible. I want to work hard and keep performing for my team.” — Shaheen Shah Afridi

You are also close to Mohammad Amir…

Yes, Mohammad Amir is a great bowler and I am getting to learn a lot from him as well. In the World Cup, he had a terrific outing... When we are in the middle, he walks up to me and discusses a few points. I hope I can work on the things he has suggested in the future.

In the next couple of years, where do you want to see yourself?

Woh toh bahot dur hai (That’s a long way away)… But I hope to learn every day and improve my game. That’s the only thing I want in the next couple of years!