Afridi Dubs India-Pak T20 as Super Bowl

The spin all-rounder also said it’s hard to predict a side favourite to win the ongoing T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the USA…reports Asian Lite News

New York, June 5 (IANS) Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has called the upcoming India-Pakistan clash in the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup as cricket’s version of the ‘Super Bowl’. India will take on Pakistan in a highly anticipated Group A clash of the tournament at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium here on June 9.

“For those Americans discovering the tournament, they should know that Pakistan’s game against India is like our Super Bowl. I used to absolutely love playing India and I really believe it is the biggest rivalry in sport.”

“When I played in those games, I got a lot of love and respect from the Indian fans, and it means so much to both sides. Against India, it is about handling the pressure of the occasion. There is so much talent in both teams, they just need to put it together on the day,” wrote Afridi in his column for the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The spin all-rounder also said it’s hard to predict a side favourite to win the ongoing T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the USA. “That will be the case in that game and the tournament overall. The team that can hold its nerve will come out on top.”

“T20 cricket is so unpredictable, and teams can bat so deep now. You can have a batter coming in at No.8 and smashing the ball at a strike rate of 150 to win a game. I hope that will be Pakistan this time around, but it is hard to pick a favourite.”

Afridi also thinks Pakistan, the 2009 T20 World Cup winners, have the capabilities to challenge any team on a given day in the tournament. “Even though their form has been inconsistent in 2024, I believe they have all the ingredients to put it all together in the West Indies and USA.”

“Over the last two ICC Men’s T20 World Cups, they have made one final and one semi-final and there is no question of the talent in the squad. The conditions in the Caribbean will definitely suit them. There is so much talent in the side, particularly when you look at the bowling attack which should thrive over there. The fast bowlers are as good as any team in the world and there is so much depth as well,” he wrote.

Afridi further wishes to see the local American population warm up and embrace cricket in its way of living a sporting life, apart from seeing a global event be back in the Caribbean. “This is also a huge tournament for American cricket. I have always had a great time when playing in the USA and for those who have not experienced it, the conditions are similar to playing in the West Indies. People are going to love the support in the States.”

“There is a great expat community over there which absolutely loves cricket. The Americans absolutely love their sport, whether it is American football, basketball, or baseball. I really believe that cricket will hit the mainstream over there in the next few years, which is very exciting for up-and-coming cricketers.”

“I am really excited to see the tournament return to the Caribbean. I captained Pakistan in 2010 when the West Indies last hosted and have great memories of that tournament. As an all-rounder, I loved the fact that the pitches support both batters and bowlers, so it will be up to the players to acclimatise quickly. For the batters, shot selection is vital, while bowlers need to find their line and length.”

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