The Pakistan Cricket Board is confronting numerous questions on whether their strike bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi has recovered enough from a knee injury to be match fit for the ongoing T20 World Cup.
Former players, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Misbah-ul-Haq and Aaqib Javed all felt that Shaheen looked short of match fitness and practice while playing against India in Melbourne on Sunday.
Waqar Younis, former skipper and head coach said when the team was in New Zealand for the tri-series before the World Cup, he had discussed with Babar Azam, Saqlain Mushtaq and the team doctor about Shaheen’s fitness.
“This was not the Shaheen that we know. His rythm was not there and it begs the question, has he been picked in the side too early and is he match fit now for such a big tournament?” Waqar Younis questioned.
“I asked them about his progress and reminded them no matter how much he bowled in the nets but playing in a World Cup match was a totally different situation,” said Waqar.
Aaqib Javed, Lahore Qalanders head coach, said there was no doubt that Shaheen was not his usual self against India.
“He looked anxious and reluctant to really bend his back and that is natural when you are making a comeback from a knee injury. I just wonder whether he has been rushed back into competitive cricket early,” Aaqib said.
Shaheen went for 25 runs in his last two overs against India and conceded 19 runs in his final over to give India a chance of winning the match on Sunday.
Former captain Misbah-ul-Haq said he had always believed in only fielding a player who was 100 percent match fit. “It is never worth the risk to gamble with a bowler who is short on match practice,” he added.