Shaheen Shah Afridi has impinged himself as one of the young exciting fast-bowling talents of the modern era and the spearhead of the Pakistani bowling attack in a relatively brief career at the international level.
But, you’d be surprised to know, that when the southpaw had started out in the PSL at a ripe age of 17, he had almost decided to quit the game. Afridi was picked up as one of the emerging players for the 3rd edition of the Pakistan Super League following his stint in the U-19 World Cup in 2018.
Lahore Qalandars coach and former Pakistan cricketer Aaqib Javed have recently revealed how Shaheen had come to him after a few poor outings and said he wanted to quit the game. Javed revealed that Shaheen Shah Afridi had even offered to return the money that he’d received from Qalandars. However, after resting for a couple of games, Afridi returned to take a five-wicket-haul against Multan.
“He was only 17 when he first represented Qalandars. He had a few bad games initially, so he came to me and said that he doesn’t want to play cricket anymore and I want return the money Qalandars’ owners have invested on me. I told him that anyone can go for runs and that one day he will become a superstar. We rested him for a couple of games and then brought him back against Multan, where he took five wickets. It is all about believing in talent and providing them an opportunity,” Aaqib Javed told Cricket Pakistan.
During the same interview, Aaqib Javed also mentioned that he was surprised to see Shaheen Shah Afridi play cricket with week eyesight. He revealed how he spotted the issue during a practice session at the ICC Academy.
“During a practice session at the ICC Academy, when all our players were practicing long catches, Shaheen Shah Afridi’s response was a bit different compared to everyone else. He was moving a little late. So I asked him after the session if there is any issue with his eyesight. He said he used to have an issue but can still play. So we decided to get his eyesight checked. We were shocked after getting his report, as the number on his one eye was 5.6 and other one was 2.5. We were surprised to see him play cricket with such weak eyesight. Your eyesight is so important while fielding or when aiming to hit certain spots on the pitch while bowling. Then we decided to get him some contact lenses which worked,” said Javed.