- Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan)
Having had a very mediocre run in ODIs leading into the World Cup, nineteen-year-old Shaheen Afridi was not sure of a place in Pakistan’s playing XI during the World Cup. But Hasan Ali’s poor form in the tournament meant that they had to resort to the young left-arm pacer, and it proved a rewarding decision. In the five games that he played at the Word Cup, he picked up 16 wickets (including career best figures of 6/35 against Bangladesh) @ 14.42, thus being instrumental behind Pakistan’s turnaround in the tournament. At the end of the league stage, Pakistan finished on the same number of points as New Zealand, but the latter leapfrogged Pakistan to reach the semis by virtue of having a better NRR.
Blessed with raw pace and the ability to hit a good length time and again, the six-feet-six-inch tall pacer has all the ingredients to become a premier fast bowler for his country in the future. Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, who has an excellent eye for spotting talent, has even said on record that Shaheen Afridi is a superstar in the making. It only remains to be seen whether he has the temperament required to sustain him at the highest level.
Tournament stats: 5 matches, 16 wickets, Bowl Avg. 14.62, Economy 4.96