Shaheen Shah Afridi says he can’t wait to return to Edgbaston with Pakistan in 2024, having experienced the ‘energy’ he’s always felt from the crowd.
Speaking after Welsh Fire’s win over Birmingham Phoenix, the Pakistan pace bowled enthused about his past experiences in Birmingham, specifically the support he always receives.
During The Hundred fixture, there were chants for the 23-year-old throughout the game, whilst hundreds of children waited for photos and autographs after the match.
“Whenever the crowd supports you, you get more energetic and it lifts the team,” said Afridi. “I’m always trying to give my best, but the noise can give you something extra. It’s special.
“The Pakistan fans always enjoy their cricket at Edgbaston. There are so many Asian communities in the UK and in Birmingham, so many Pakistani people live here.
“I played for Notts [in the T20 Blast] as well and Hassan [Ali] was playing for Birmingham. They always come and support us. We are always happy whenever we see our people and hopefully, we perform in front of them.”
Afridi took centre stage with the ball in 2019 as Edgbaston played host to the ICC Cricket World Cup.
Winning by six wickets with five balls remaining, Babar Azam’s century secured the Player of the Match award in a tight contest with Afridi. The left-armer bowled incredible figures of 10-3-28-3, dismissing the key wickets of Colin Munro, Ross Taylor and Tom Latham.
“I have many good memories here,” added Afridi. “Whether that’s with Pakistan or Notts, I enjoy it here.
“That [New Zealand] was a special game for me. I spoke to Wasim bhai over the phone and even when he is around, I get to learn a lot from him. I discuss a lot of things. He was telling me, ‘With your swing, hit the raw line.’ I did just that and I will always remember that game.
“Tonight, Me and Haris [Rauf] had a great partnership as we’re very different. We have a lot of plans for the death overs that include dot balls and not just wickets.”
Could the pair return to Edgbaston in 2024 for the Men’s IT20 against England on Saturday 25 May?
“I hope so as the fans will come with their flags. When people from Pakistani communities come to support you, it’s a great feeling.”
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Edgbaston is set for another stunning summer of men’s and women’s international cricket with Pakistan and West Indies heading to Birmingham in 2024, plus the return of Finals Day.
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