Srinagar: Noted cricket expert Alan Wilkins has come out in defense of Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi after former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar criticized the left-arm pacer for leaving the field with injury in last year’s T20 World Cup final against England.
Akhtar, in a recent local TV interview, has said that Shaheen missed a golden opportunity to become the biggest celebrity in Pakistan as he failed to complete his over at a crucial juncture of the aforementioned match.
“If I was in his [Shaheen Afridi] place, I would have become the greatest celebrity of Pakistan during those 12 minutes by bowling the same number of deliveries. I would’ve come to bowl, fall, break my knees, but I would’ve got up, used injection to numb my knees, and repeated the same again,” Akhtar said.
“People would’ve told me that I would die, but I would rather die than let the World Cup slip away from our hands. This was the moment that you could’ve become a superstar. If I was there, I would’ve died for Pakistan,” he added.
The cricketer-turned-commentator, in a tweet on Tuesday, didn’t agree with Akhtar’s take and rather defended the decision taken by the left-arm pacer to leave the field.
“It’s an admirable thought but it is also a long time after the event. Shaheen Shah Afridi couldn’t have bowled on one leg even though he’s got the biggest heart in the team!” Alan tweeted.
England went onto chase 139-run target set by Pakistan, courtesy of a half-century by Ben Stokes, and win the title.
Shaheen has since recovered from his injury and is currently leading the reigning champions, Lahore Qalandars, in the ongoing eighth edition of HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL).