Former Indian batter Mohammad Kaif feels that Pakistan are playing a huge gamble by playing an unfit and undercooked Shaheen Afridi at the ongoing T20 World Cup 2022. The left-arm seamer won the race against time to feature in the tournament but has been far from his best in terms of intensity and impact.
The young seamer was ruled out for a significant while following a knee injury during the tour of Sri Lanka in July 2021. He underwent treatment and rehabilitation in England, missing the 2022 Asia Cup in the process.
Since his return to the Pakistan set-up, he has struggled to hit his usual speed. Afridi has resorted to bowling in the mid-130s and is often seen in mild discomfort at times. He has claimed only one wicket across three matches so far as Pakistan face an uphill battle to qualify for the knockouts.
Glad to be back
Stating that Pakistan are heavily reliant on Afridi and his early return is not helping anyone, Kaif said in an exclusive interaction with Sportskeeda:
“Pakistan’s mistake has been that Shaheen Afridi’s performance makes a huge impact and he is clearly not fully fit. He is playing after three months that too after a big injury in a big tournament. Often it happens that your mind tells you that you are fit, but the body does not agree with you.”
The likes of Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah and Mohammad Wasim Jnr have done a commendable job in the tournament as Afridi continues to find his rhythm after a long absence.
“Pakistan’s batting has never been their strength” – Mohammad Kaif
Babar Azam and Co. have had a nightmarish tournament so far in Australia. After losing their opening contest against India, things took a turn for the worse following a hugely demoralizing loss against Zimbabwe.
The side bounced back to claim their first T20I win on Australian soil by defeating the Netherlands, but it might just be a case of too little too late for the Men in Green at this stage.
Welcome event for the Pakistan and South Africa teams arranged in Sydney.
#WeHaveWeWill | #T20WorldCup
Opining that Pakistan’s batting unit has let them down like it has in the past, Kaif said:
“Pakistan’s batting has never been their strength, it has always been their bowling. Their plan always has been to score around 150-160 and defend the score. These are the mistakes that Pakistan have been making so far.”
Adding that the loss against India early on in the tournament might also have played a part in Pakistan’s ongoing struggles, Kaif added:
“Babar Azam’s form has also been a factor, but according to me, when you lose the first match to India, then there is just too much pressure since there is constant discussion over the result.”
Pakistan are next scheduled to face the undefeated South African side on Thursday, November 3, at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
Did Pakistan make a mistake by rushing Shaheen Afridi back into the scheme of things? Let us know what you think.
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