Afridi gives thumbs-up for new free-hit rule

Published: Monday, July 16, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Contrary to his teammate Shoaib Akhtar's view that the experimental free hit rule was 'nonsense', Shahid Afridi lauds ICC's 'nice innovation', saying it would make the sport more entertaining and exciting.

The hard-hitting Afridi spoke more like a batsman than a bowler inspite of his 'all-rounder' tag on the new rule announced by cricket's governing body, which would allow the batsman to take a free hit after every no-ball bowled by a bowler in the one-dayers.

The swashbuckling Afridi said he understood the apprehensions of fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, who feel the new rule is loaded in favour of the batsman, but felt the two bowlers would not face any problem.

''Shoaib and Asif are two of the most accurate bowlers I have seen in one-day internationals. They bowl very few no-balls. So I don't see them facing any problems,'' he said.

He felt the new move would force the bowlers into being more discplined.

Afridi, who has a reputation of going hammer and tongs even in legitimate deliveries, told The News, ''The new rule will make the other bowlers also more accurate and disciplined to avoid giving away bonus runs and that is a good thing as less wides and no balls means less time lost in a match.''

Shoaib and Asif have expressed reservations over the rule, effective from Oct 1, which says on the very next delivery after a no-ball, the batsman can take a free hit without any danger of being dismissed unless he is run-out.

The Pakistani pace duo criticised the new rule, saying it would add to the pressure on the bowlers in a game increasingly dominated by the batsmen.


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