Shaheen Afridi could miss matches during New Zealand series

Former Pakistan captain could be rested

April 02, 2024
Shaheen Afridi reacts during a match. - PCB

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi could be on the sidelines for part of the five-match T20I series against New Zealand in line with the policy of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to lessen the burden on leading fast bowlers of the team, The News reported Tuesday.

According to the publication, there are ongoing consultations on the matter to protect the pacers from unnecessary burden and test the form and fitness of newcomers.

Meanwhile, the fast bowlers who are making a comeback have more chances to be included in the T20I series against New Zealand.

There are chances that leading fast bowlers including Shaheen will be rested for the first part of the series or the complete series against the visitors, which is set to begin on April 18.

The development comes after PCB replaced Shaheen as the T20I captain and reappointed Babar Azam in his place. The former captain was reportedly unhappy with the board’s abrupt decision of his removal.

The players are currently at Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul for fitness training and reports emerging from the camp suggest that Shaheen has expressed his surprise over the statement attributed to him by the board.

Shaheen was quoted to have said that being a player it was pertinent for him to support Babar as a captain. He is also said to have expressed his concerns about not being taken in confidence before issuing such a statement.

It is believed that the decision to bench Shaheen in the T20I series is related to the 23-year-old rejecting the statement. However, the final decision regarding the matter will be taken after monitoring his conduct in the run-up to the series.

“He could be made part of the squad against New Zealand but may not be included in the Playing XI for the first three T20I matches to be played at the Pindi Stadium,” a source told The News.

Abdul Mohi Shah is a senior reporter for The News