Shaheen Shah Afridi is a Pakistani international cricketer who plays for the Pakistan cricket team across all formats. He is widely regarded as one of the best bowlers in the world. He captains the Lahore Qalandars in the PSL and under his leadership, Lahore Qalandars won their first PSL title in the 2022 season and again went on to win the 2023 season, becoming the first team in PSL history to successfully defend their title. He is the first Pakistani to win the Garfield Sobers trophy.
Early Days and Cricket Roots
Shaheen Shah Afridi ,Born on April 6, 2000, in the Zakhakhel Afridi tribe, grew up in the cricketing ambiance of Landi Kotal near the Afghan border. With seven older brothers, including Riaz Afridi, a former Pakistani cricketer, the sport ran in his veins.Shaheen initiated his journey on his hometown ground, Tatra Ground, and swiftly ascended by impressing at the FATA Under-16 trials.His talent landed him a spot in the Under-16 tour of Australia in 2015, marking the beginning of a remarkable cricketing odyssey.
Professional Forays and PSL Stardom
In 2016, Shaheen joined the Pakistan Under-19 cricket team, showcasing his prowess in the U-19 Asia Cup. His talent didn’t go unnoticed, earning him a contract with Dhaka Dynamites in the Bangladesh Premier League. Shaheen’s first-class debut in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in 2017 was a revelation, claiming an impressive 8/39 on debut. His outstanding performance led him to the Pakistan squad for the 2018 Under-19 Cricket World Cup, where he emerged as the tournament’s rising star.
In the HBL PSL 2018, Lahore Qalandars drafted Shaheen, marking his entry into Pakistan’s premier T20 league. His impactful debut, including a wicket against Shahid Afridi, signaled the beginning of a stellar PSL journey. Fast forward to 2022; he captained Lahore Qalandars to their maiden title, becoming the tournament’s youngest captain and highest wicket-taker.
International Triumphs and Recognition
Shaheen swiftly climbed the ranks of international cricket, making his T20I debut against West Indies in April 2018. His ODI and Test debuts followed in September and December 2018, respectively. The 2019 Cricket World Cup witnessed his brilliance, where he became the youngest bowler to secure a fifer in World Cup history, propelling Pakistan to victory against Bangladesh.
His stellar performances continued into T20 World Cup 2021, where he outplayed top batsmen, including Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, leading Pakistan to a historic win against India. His exceptional skills earned him accolades, including ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year 2021, and places in ICC Men’s Test and T20I Teams of the Year.
Personal Endeavors and Philanthropy
Beyond the cricket field, Shaheen found personal happiness, getting engaged to Ansha Afridi, daughter of Shahid Afridi, in 2021.
Upon being named an honorary Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) by KPK Police, he demonstrated his commitment to social causes, exemplifying his goodwill ambassador role.
In a unique turn, he delved into design, creating Lahore Qalandars’ new kits for the 2023 PSL, showcasing his multifaceted talents. This significant event highlighted a new beginning for him and his family.
Glittering Awards and Promising Future
Shaheen’s exceptional year in 2021 was recognized by the PCB, naming him the Impactful Performance of the Year. He received esteemed honors, including the Sir Garfield Sobers Award for ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year 2021, solidifying his status as a cricketing legend in the making.