Cricket-Pakistan bet on fast bowler Afridi to be fit for World Cup

FILE PHOTO: Cricket – ICC Men’s T20 World Cup – Super 12 – Semi-Final – Pakistan v Australia – Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – November 11, 2021 Pakistan’s Shaheen Afridi reacts REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Pakistan included Shaheen Afridi in their 15-man squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia, hoping the pace spearhead will recover in time from a knee injury for the tournament that starts next month.

Left-arm fast bowler Afridi was ruled out of the recently-concluded Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates due to the injury despite being named in the preliminary squad by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Afridi has travelled to London for rehabilitation and the PCB said the 22-year-old is expected to join the Pakistan squad in Brisbane on Oct. 15.

“We are receiving encouraging reports about Shaheen Shah Afridi, who is likely to resume bowling early next month,” said chief selector Muhammad Wasim.

Before travelling to Brisbane, Pakistan will play in a T20 international tri-series, including hosts New Zealand and Bangladesh, in Christchurch from Oct. 7-14.

Fast bowler Mohammad Wasim also returned to the World Cup squad after recovering fully from a side strain he suffered during the Asia Cup.

A knee injury, however, saw top-order batter Fakhar Zaman ruled out of the Babar Azam-led squad. Fakhar was instead named in the travelling reserves with Shan Masood included in the side for the shortest format for the first time.

“We have a team that can perform strongly in the… T20 World Cup. That’s why we have shown faith and confidence in almost the same set of players who have been part of the T20I squad post the 2021 World Cup in the UAE,” Muhammad Wasim added.

“We have invested in these cricketers and it is fair to them that they get the opportunity to show their mettle in the World Cup, an event for which they have been preparing and training hard.”

Former champions Pakistan will begin their T20 World Cup campaign with an Oct. 23 blockbuster against arch-rivals India in Melbourne.

Squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Usman Qadir



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