PakistanSports & Games

Shaheen Afridi Credits Imran Khan for his Successful Captaincy of Lahore Qalandars

Lahore Qalandars captain Shaheen Shah Afridi has revealed that it was Prime Minister Imran Khan who inspired him to take up the leadership role of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise.

The left-arm pacer, who has led the Qalandars to two consecutive PSL titles in 2022 and 2023, said he had no prior experience or interest in captaincy until he met the former World Cup-winning skipper at the PM office in 2021.

“I have not captained at any age level, really, maybe once at Under-19 level,” Shaheen told ESPNcricinfo. "I never even had an interest in captaincy. But then in 2021, I was sitting in the PM office with Sameen bhai [Lahore Qalandars owner] and Aqib Javed, and Imran Khan suggested that I be appointed captain."

"Obviously, you can never say no to Imran bhai. After that, I became captain of Lahore. I was vice-captain, but when Imran bhai said I should be captain, that’s when the change happened."

Shaheen said he was grateful to Imran Khan for showing faith in him and giving him valuable tips on how to lead a fast bowling unit.

“When we won the title in 2022, I went to meet Imran bhai and told him 'at least we’ve now won one title!' And I thanked him at the time for showing faith in me. That’s when my captaincy started, until then I had no interest,” Shaheen said.

"Imran said most great fast bowlers have been captains because fast bowlers have the authority to set fields and they understand other fast bowlers, concerning what they need and what they’re going through. Those few nuggets of wisdom from him were very valuable to me, and I’d like to give him full credit for it."

Shaheen, who is also the leading wicket-taker in PSL history with 76 scalps, has transformed the Qalandars from the bottom-dwellers to the champions of the league in just two years.

The Qalandars, who finished last in the first four editions of the PSL, clinched their maiden title in 2021 by defeating Karachi Kings in the final. They repeated the feat in 2022 by beating Peshawar Zalmi in the summit clash.

Shaheen will now aim to guide the Qalandars to a hat-trick of titles in the ninth edition of the PSL, which begins on February 17 (Today). The Qalandars will face Islamabad United in the opening match at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.

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