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‘I played lot of overs’ Shaheen happy with rest in Sydney Test as NZ T20Is nears

‘I played lot of overs’ Shaheen happy with rest in Sydney Test as NZ T20Is nears

Photo: X/Shaheen Shah Afridi
The move to rest Shaheen Afridi, who has been a crucial component of Pakistan's bowling lineup, was explained by the team management as a measure to manage his workload.

Pakistan’s decision to rest their pace spearhead, Shaheen Afridi, for the third and final Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground raised eyebrows and sparked discussions among fans and pundits. The Men in Green took a bold step by altering their bowling combination, introducing Sajid Khan as a specialist spinner, and relying on Hasan Ali, Aamer Jamal, and Mir Hamza to lead the pace attack.

The move to rest Shaheen Afridi, who has been a crucial component of Pakistan’s bowling lineup, was explained by the team management as a measure to manage his workload. With a taxing schedule ahead, including a five-match T20I series in New Zealand starting from January 12, the decision was strategic, aiming to ensure Afridi’s optimal performance in the upcoming fixtures.

Shaheen Afridi, during an interaction with broadcasters at Lunch on Day 1 in Sydney, shed light on the rationale behind the decision: “I played two games, and a lot of overs to be honest. They’re just managing my workload, the medical team and team management decided to take a rest for this (Test).”

While Afridi acknowledged the effort to preserve his fitness, he expressed his desire to contribute more to the team’s success: “I think that I can take more wickets, but unfortunately catches win matches, and unfortunately we missed those opportunities on the field most of the time.”

Reflecting on the overall tour, Shaheen Afridi commended the team’s effort in the previous game but acknowledged the challenges: “It has been a good tour so far, and the last game that we played was quite awesome. As a bowling unit, and as a team, we gave our best, the result was not in our hands, but we tried.”

Shaheen Afridi set for NZ vs PAK T20 series

The left-arm pacer watched the proceedings of the third Test from the dressing room as Pakistan faced a challenging start, reduced to 4-2 in the second over. Shaheen Afridi expressed optimism despite the tough session: “The wicket looks okay so far, and in the matches that have been played here before, it has favored the team batting first. They bowled in good areas this morning, and Saim Ayub our superstar, he is new, so these sort of things happen. But, we will come back soon. It was a tough first session, but Shan and Rizwan are still at the crease, and we are hopeful that they will put together a huge partnership.”

As the T20I captaincy was handed over to Shaheen Afridi after Babar Azam decided to step down across all formats, he expressed pride in the new role: “It is a very proud moment for me to represent Pakistan as the captain, for my family as well. It is a challenge for me as a new captain to figure out how to manage the team and the challenges coming with the World Cup and all.”

While the decision to rest Shaheen Afridi may have strategic merit, it has faced criticism from former players and fans. The impact of this choice on the ongoing Test and the team’s performance in the upcoming series remains to be seen, with opinions divided on the necessity of such a move.

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