- “Age is just a number: a cricketer needs to be fit enough and passionate,” says Afridi.
- “I am hopeful of making it eight out of eight this Sunday and I want to contribute to making Multan win the title this time,” he says.
- He turned 35 in December but still hasn’t lost hopes of playing for Pakistan.
LAHORE: Pakistan Super League (PSL) team Multan Sultan’s bowling all-rounder Asif Afridi has revealed that Sultan’s captain Mohammad Rizwan doesn’t get panicked if a bowler is being smashed by any batter and instead of shouting, he bucks them up.
In an exclusive interview with Geo News, the 35-year-old cricketer from KP said that age is just a number: a cricketer needs to be fit enough and passionate.
Asif is donning Multan Sultan’s jersey and has played four games for the side. He was also included in the team as Shahid Afridi’s replacement in the previous edition but couldn’t play any match.
“Every cricketer in Pakistan dreams of playing in PSL and I am lucky to be here. I have worked hard for the event. Last year, I sat on the dugout and didn’t get to play in any match but despite that, the environment provided me with an opportunity to learn a lot,” he said.
Afridi has remained part of the victorious side in several tournaments in the last few months and the Multan Sultans’ all-rounder is confident of adding one more to the tally.
His presence in the victorious side’s dugout has made many fans call him a “lucky charm” for the teams.
“Even my friends call me that, I am aware of this,” said Afridi.
“Teams I am part of have played seven finals and won all. I am hopeful of making it eight out of eight this Sunday and I want to contribute in making Multan win the title this time,” the Peshawar-born cricketer said.
Afridi was part of Multan Sultans that won the PSL last year. He was also part of KP’s side that won multiple domestic titles and Rawalakot Hawks that won the Kashmir Premier League.
He turned 35 in December but still hasn’t lost hopes of playing for Pakistan.
“I’ve been performing well for last few years and I am hopeful of achieving my dream of donning Pakistan’s star on my chest,” he aimed.
“Age is just a number if you’re passionate, fit, and performing in the field. We have Shoaib Malik as an example who is 40 but still looks fitter and quicker than many U19s,” he said.
He also revealed that Ramiz Raja boosted his confidence when — on the sidelines of a domestic tournament — he was told by the chairman that he was in the sights.
“I was told that age isn’t a barrier if I am performing,” Afridi revealed.
Talking about PSL 7, the 35-year-old cricketer said that his main task during the tournament for Sultans is to bowl the dot-balls to put pressure on batting sides.
He also praised the leadership of Multan’s captain by saying that there aren’t too many captains like Rizwan who can always keep cool.
“Even before we are going to bowl, he would tell us it’s okay if you’re hit for six or four, just concentrate on your plans. When batters are smashing us badly, he doesn’t lose his cool and keep his body language positive which gives us confidence,” he said.
“Instead of shouting at players, he comes and hugs us saying that we would also reciprocate them with the same sort of batting which gives us very positive vibes in the dressing room,” Afridi said about his side’s captain.
He further said that it is not easy for a bowler in T20 cricket as things are in favour of batters but this should motivate the bowlers to be more skilful than giving up hopes in the shortest formats.
When asked what he does to avoid leaking runs, the Sultans’ cricketer said that he prefers to deliver different varieties so that a batter can not judge his plan.
“When I enter the ground, I plan my strategy ball by ball. I don’t think about how to deliver the second ball until I am done with first, that helps me modify my strategy according to the situation,” he mentioned.