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Friday Dec 02 2022
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Naseem 'enoying' the challenged in Shaheen's absence against England

Pakistans Naseem Shah (R) delivers the ball next to Englands Harry Brook during the second day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and England at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, in Rawalpindi on December 2, 2022. — AFP
Pakistan's Naseem Shah (R) delivers the ball next to England's Harry Brook during the second day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and England at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, in Rawalpindi on December 2, 2022. — AFP

Pakistan pacer Naseem Shah said Friday he is enjoying the challenge in the absence of lead fast-bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi during the historic Test series against England.

Shaheen was ruled out of the Test series after aggravating his knee injury during the T20 World Cup 2022 final against England at the Melbourne Cricket Stadium on November 13.

The left-arm pacer landed awkwardly while taking England batter Harry Brook's catch.

Young pacer Naseem is leading the bowling attack of the home side during the three-match Test series, and among the pacers, he has more Test caps than Haris Rauf and Mohammad Ali, who are making their debut against the English side in the first Test series at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.

"Obviously, Shaheen has given great performances. Challenges are fun in life. I enjoy challenges," the young pacer said during a press conference following the end of day two.

"I enjoy my cricket and bowling. I motivate myself to bowl according to the requirements of the team and I try my best and the rest, God takes care of," Shah said.

After a rough day on Thursday, Shah ended England's first innings with three wickets.

Talking about the transition from T20 cricket to the longest format of the game, Shah said it's the beauty of cricket that every morning there is something new to do.

"It's not an easy situation but as a professional cricketer, you don't have anything else except cricket. Sometimes mornings are hard, but the only thing in our hands is to try and do our best irrespective of the condition of the pitch. It took some time to get used to it but I finally felt better today," he added.

It must be noted that, in reply to the mammoth score of 657 runs, Pakistan opening batters Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq put on a great display on Friday, amassing 89 and 90 runs, respectively, to help the home side reach 181-0 in 51 overs.