Babar Azam has admitted for the first time that Pakistani star pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi is not fully fit at this stage. According to the Pakistan captain Afridi still hasn’t recovered from a knee injury. Babar confirmed that Afridi will be rested for at least 2 ODIs against the Netherlands. This move has been essentially made to give the pacer more time to get fit for the Asia Cup 2022 clash against India. Follow Pakistan vs Netherlands LIVE and Asia Cup Live Updates on InsideSport.IN
“We are taking a couple of doctors on the way to take care of Shaheen”, Babar said at a press conference. “He still needs rest, still needs some time to recover fully from the injury. We are looking long term at his fitness and health. We will rest him for Netherlands ODI’s so that he get recovered before Asia Cup”, the Pakistan captain added.
Is Shaheen Afridi still not fit? Pakistan contingent has decided to drop Hasan Ali after unimpressive performances off late. The Pakistani side has gone on with four pacers including the likes of Haris Rauf, Shahnawaz Dahani, Naseem Shah, and Mohammad Wasim.
As for Shaheen Shah Afridi, the speedster will be rested as the team is thinking about his long-term future.
“Our fast-bowling bench strength is excellent. They’ve now got an opportunity to showcase their skills. This is how you expand your pool. I support Hasan Ali because he’s a team man.
Yes, he’s not in form, but it’s not like he has to prove anything. Domestic cricket is coming up. He’ll play that and make a strong comeback hopefully”
“We have 11 trump cards. Each of them can be matchwinners on their day. I have faith in every one of them, whether batters of bowlers. I think the conditions will be similar to England. The weather will be cooler. We practiced with the air conditioning on indoors, perhaps that helps simulate the conditions! We couldn’t practice much because of the rains, but we got a practice match in, which gives you a good sense of conditions.”
“We’re not going to just rest our senior players, we’ll play with a combination of senior and junior players. There are important Super League points at stake which we can’t lose. I’m going to the Netherlands for the first time, too. If things go badly after we field young players, we’ll cop criticism then, too. Everyone won’t be happy with our decisions, but we have to do what’s best for Pakistan cricket,” Babar concluded.
Pakistan will begin their Asia Cup tournament against their arch-rivals India. Babar Azam plans to unleash a fresh and rested Shaheen Shah Afridi to wreak havoc on the Indian batting lineup. He admits, it will be a big pressure match.
“We always try to play it like a normal match, but yes, there is definitely different pressure [on us],” the Pakistan skipper told a pre-departure press conference as the team head to the Netherlands.