Former Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi, who is famous for giving controversial statements against India, has explained how he tricked Team India’s spin bowler Ravichandran Ashwin during the Asia Cup 2014.
India-Pakistan rivalry in the cricket field is no less like a war zone. Although they haven’t played the bilateral series since 2013, several thrilling encounters have been witnessed between the two nations in ICC tournaments and Asia Cups.
Shahid Afridi recalls India’s defeat in Asia Cup 2014:
The former great allrounder Shahid Afridi recalls India’s defeat against Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2014. The marquee clash was a highly-intense drama as the game went to the final over.
While chasing the target of 246 runs, Pakistan with four wickets in hand needed 13 runs from the final two overs and Shahid Afridi was in the crease. India’s pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar then bowled an excellent penultimate over, picking up two wickets and giving away only three runs.
The stand-in captain Virat Kohli handed the bowl to in-form Ashwin for the last over. The spinner also picked the wicket of Saeed Ajmal in the very first bowl of the over. India needed only one wicket but Afridi got under the skin of the spin bowler.
Shahid Afridi’s plan against Ashwin:
Reminiscings the last over drama, Afridi explained that Junaid Khan somehow managed to get one run and brought him at the striker end. Then, the allrounder executed his master plan against Ashwin, who had already picked three wickets in the innings.
“Saeed Ajmal was batting with me. I told him to put the bat on the ball and get a single. I told him not to go for the sweep shot but he ended up playing one and lost his wicket. Ashwin was bowling well, he was getting some purchase from the track too,” Afridi told cricket presenter Zainab Abbas in the interview.
“Then Junaid Khan came in. I told him the same thing, just get a single. He somehow managed to get me back on strike,” he added.
Shahid Afridi bamboozled Ashwin to bowl on leg-side which worked in his favour. He went on to hit two consecutive sixes to get his team across the line and end India’s journey in the tournament.
“What I did against Ashwin was to look towards the leg side. I wanted to trick him so that he thinks that I am going to hit on the leg side. The idea behind it was to force the off-spinner not to bowl his off-spin. And Ashwin did exactly that. He bowled the leg-spin. I hit it over the extra cover region for a six. The next delivery was a difficult one, I did not get it in the middle. I was in two minds, I was thinking will it go over the ropes or not. But in the end, the ball sailed over the fielder for a six. I breathed a sigh of relief,” Afridi concluded.
However, Pakistan, eventually, faced the defeat in the grand-finale against Sri Lanka by five wickets at Dhaka.