Teenage quick Shaheen Afridi set for Test baptism

Shaheen Afridi. (AFP)
Updated 01 December 2018

Teenage quick Shaheen Afridi set for Test baptism

  • The 18-year-old left-arm quick made his mark in a domestic match in September last year
  • The three-match series is currently tied at 1-1 with New Zealand winning the first Test by four runs in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI: Teenage pace sensation Shaheen Afridi is all set to cap his meteoric rise with a Test debut for Pakistan in the third match against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi starting on Monday.
A shoulder injury to medium pacer Mohammad Abbas in the second Test in Dubai has paved way for Shaheen to make his mark in the last act of a gripping series which stands at 1-1.
"If I get a chance I will do my best," Shaheen told AFP on Saturday. "I always had belief in my ability and in my hard work although I didn't expect my chance will come in Tests so early."
The 18-year-old left-arm quick made his mark in a domestic match in September last year, claiming eight wickets for just 39 runs in a Quaid-e-Azam Trophy game, the best figures by a Pakistan bowler on first-class debut.
The cricket world took notice of the 1.98 metre tall bowler who could hit the 90 miles per hour mark with the ball. Within 15 months he is already being compared to Australian pace spearhead Mitchell Starc and legendary Pakistan paceman Wasim Akram.
His rise to the Pakistan team began at home in Landi Kotal, a town in the Khyber District, close to the border with Afghanistan, where his elder brother Riaz who played one Test for Pakistan in 200, gave him his first bowling lessons.
"My brother was my role model who taught me how to bowl and how to approach cricket with a positive frame of mind," said Shaheen. "I owe my success to him."
Riaz also taught his brother a few shots to the extent that he is considered a handy hard-hitting all-rounder.
Since his impressive first-class debut, Shaheen has continued to attract attention, finishing with 12 wickets at the ICC Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand this year and then grabbing a five wicket haul in a Pakistan Super League match.
Shaheen graduated to Pakistan colours in the home Twenty20 series against the West Indies in March, but real success came against New Zealand in last month's one-day series in which he claimed back-to-back four wicket hauls and finished as man-of-the-series.
Just like Wasim Akram, Shaheen has also played just three first class matches before his first Test.
"Test cricket is the ultimate so matching the great Wasim's feat will motivate me a lot and just like I do in limited over matches, I will try to take wickets for my team to win the series," said Shaheen.
After his early form last month Pakistan's selection committee, headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq, named Shaheen in the Test squad for the New Zealand series with a view to developing him rather than playing him.
But Shaheen pressed his claims further when he took seven wickets -- five of them clean bowled -- in Pakistan A's win over England Lions in their four-day match in Abu Dhabi last month.
That performance and Abbas's injury pushed his chance earlier than expected.
"Our bowling coach Azhar Mahmood, coach Mickey Arthur and others have help me a lot and have worked very hard on me so I am ready to deliver my best."
The three-match series is currently tied at 1-1 with New Zealand winning the first Test by four runs in Abu Dhabi and Pakistan achieving an innings and 16 runs win in the second in Dubai.


Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

Updated 18 November 2019

Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

  • First woman from the Kingdom to compete in the championship in Indonesia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is sending its first woman to compete in the 55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup that begins in Indonesia.

Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.

Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating in the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating in the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The men’s competition started Sunday at 9 p.m.

The women’s competition will begin at 3 p.m. today, where Mashael will take part in six rounds. The competition will run until Nov. 24.

HIGHLIGHT

  • Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.
  • Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating at the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating at the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The competition continues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and after completing 24 rounds, the top 24 players will be selected to compete for the top eight positions by playing eight runs on Friday. On Saturday, the best four female players and four male players will be chosen to compete in the finals.

Abdulrahman said that he is looking forward to the world cup. “This year there is a new advantage and that is having teammate Mashael joining me for the first time. I’m proud of her! It’s a big thing for Saudi women and for us in the team because this world exposure will help them to learn and give them an incentive to develop their skills,” he said.

The 20-year-old player has been bowling for the past 10 years. Despite his young age, thanks to his perseverance and sense of discipline he managed to win many victories, but the most distinguished were those in 2018. He delivered the bronze medal at the World Cup in Detroit, and two bronzes at the Asian Bowling Championship in the Philippines in the same year, and a gold medal for the trio event at the Arab Bowling Championship in Oman.

Mashael, 32, was only able to play officially last year in February 2018 when the Saudi Bowling Federation (SBF) received the decree to allow women to play in sports. However, she has been playing for fun since early childhood when she used to travel to Egypt with her family and where she managed to learn from the professionals and get hooked on the game. Mashael was chosen to take part in the Egypt Arab Championship and World Bowling Women’s Championship in Las Vegas in August 2018.

Mashael said: “Playing for fun is definitely enjoyable but when you wear your country’s flag that’s a huge responsibility put on your shoulder. You become an ambassador and a role model and when I’m put in that situation, I definitely want to give my all to be fit for that honor, and give the best image worthy of our beloved country.”

The bowlers expressed their gratitude to the Saudi Bowling Federation and its president Bader bin Abdullah Al-Alsheikh for his support and for creating opportunities for them so that they can progress, enrich their experiences and win awards and achievements.