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Interviews

Wiese: Shaheen a 'fantastic leader who leads from the front'

Wiese, who has played nearly 300 T20s, speaks about the 21-year old's captaincy skills and his own form this PSL season

Umar Farooq
Umar Farooq
27-Feb-2022
David Wiese and Shaheen Shah Afridi have a chat in the middle  •  PCB

David Wiese and Shaheen Shah Afridi have a chat in the middle  •  PCB

Lahore Qalandars allrounder David Wiese believes Shaheen Shah Afridi is a 'fantastic captain' and that he always 'leads from the front'. Shaheen, in charge of a team for the very first time at senior level, has led Qalandars to the final of the Pakistan Super League, and Wiese, who has played nearly 300 T20s, feels the 21-year old has been successful because he's been trusting his instincts.
"Shaheen and myself have a good relationship," Wiese told ESPNcricinfo. "We've been playing together for a long time now, and he's still a young captain and he is still learning. He's not shy to come to senior players and myself and whoever if he needs advice and he is always open to suggestions. I think he's done fantastically well."
Before the season began, Shaheen met Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, who was delighted to see another fast bowling captain on the cricket circuit and encouraged the youngster to make the most of the opportunity. Shaheen was picked up by Qalandars as a teenager in 2018 and over the years he has become an integral part of the franchise. Since his international debut, he has also become one of the most prominent fast bowlers in the world, representing Pakistan in 21 Tests, 28 ODIs and 39 T20Is. He is Qalandars' all-time highest wicket-taker, with 72 strikes - including 17 this season so far.
"It's first season as captain, you know, he goes with his instincts a lot of times," Wiese said. "There are a lot of times that that's the way to go. I'm really fortunate to have played this game for a long time now and to have ample experience and it's nice to be able to pass that knowledge on to him. He is a fantastic leader and the guys really respect him in the team and he has done an amazing job as captain this season."
"Sometimes, death hitting and coming in at the end, it just doesn't work out for you and you've just got to stay patient and you've just got to have the faith"
David Wiese
Having played in T20 leagues in India, West Indies, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and England, Wiese has been happy to offer Shaheen his support, but adds that he hasn't really needed it.
"As a captain, you always want to lead from the front, but also you need to be able to show people that you're in control of things - that you are calm and collected and that you are actually not panicking or anything like that," Wiese said. "He leads from the front and we saw that overnight and you know, he's really passionate, he's got a lot of energy out there, and he's just going to get better and better as a captain. It's not about me, it's basically just coming to me just for reassurance the whole time. And I just keep telling him, you know, whatever you decide, just pick back your decision and everyone's behind you and it's worked out for us."
Shaheen's progress is being carefully monitored by Qalandars, who are keen on making sure he does not burn out.
On a personal level, Wiese was pleased he could come good when it really mattered, walloping 27 runs in the last over of a knockout game against Islamabad United. He won the Player-of-the-Match award for his efforts, which secured his team a berth in the final against Multan Sultans on Sunday at Gaddafi Stadium.
"That was one of those games where, you know, the momentum kept switching among teams," Wiese said. "It was like up and down the whole time. You know, it could have gone either way at any stage. We lost a couple of early wickets, had a good recovery. They lost the wickets again and they got some at the end and had a good powerplay. It was just, you know, one of those unbelievable T20 games that I think kept everybody on the edge of their seats until the final ball.
"I kind of knew that we hadn't scored enough in the first innings and that 150 wouldn't really be a winning score. So, you know, I knew that we'd need to have a couple big overs at the end to put ourselves in a position for the boys to defend it. And, you know, fortunately for me, it hasn't come off for myself in the tournament. But last night there were one or two balls that I was fortunate enough to capitalise on.
"The first one [six in the last over] was a good one because that kind of got the crowd behind me, that got the atmosphere going in, and I think that that put a little bit more pressure on the bowler at that stage. You know, it's quite intimidating when the club starts cheering for the batsman and you just feel like everyone's against you there. It just puts the pressure back on the bowlers. And then after that, like I said, they had one or two balls in the slot and I was able to capitalise on it."
Wiese is yet to score big this season - he has made 140 runs in 12 matches - but it hasn't shaken his confidence.
"To be honest I didn't doubt myself," he said. "It might not have been a great season for me, putting scores on the board and stuff, but I still felt like a big score was around the corner and now I just haven't quite had that opportunity. Sometimes the bowlers nail their skills and I felt like the last couple of games the bowlers have been on top of me nailing their yorkers and just not giving me anything score.
"It's not like I was always thinking that I'm out of form, anything like that. It just hasn't been working. Sometimes, you know, death hitting and coming in at the end, it just doesn't work out for you and you've just got to stay patient and you've got to just have the faith that you're putting in the hard work of training and that you need to back your skills and abilities. And you know it's getting lucky for me, it came off in the big game."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent