Will Shaheen Afridi not play all matches against New Zealand?

Shaheen Shah Afridi might "rest" in initial two matches of five-match series under team's rotation policy

By
Syed Intikhab Ali
Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi in pain during the T20 World Cup final against England, on November 13, 2022, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. — AFP
Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi in pain during the T20 World Cup final against England, on November 13, 2022, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. — AFP

KARACHI: In a rather disappointing news for cricket fans, Pakistan's star pacer Shaheen Afridi is likely to miss out on multiple matches in the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand, sources told Geo News on Monday.

They added that it has been decided to "rest" the left-arm bowler as part of the team's rotation policy to manage the players' workload ahead of the upcoming 2024 T20 World Cup slated for June later this year.

Shaheen is likely to be on the sidelines for the first two matches of the five-match series. However, he would be part of the last three matches, the sources added.

It must be noted that Shaheen was recently removed as captain of the T20I side and was replaced by Babar Azam.

The PCB said that the change was "a strategic move aimed at ensuring player well-being and peak performance".

"While Shaheen has undeniably proven himself as a star fast bowler, leading Pakistan's pace attack over the years, the board recognises the importance of rotation and rest to maintain his peak performance. This decision aligns with the board's commitment to safeguarding the longevity of the players, especially fast bowlers given their injury timelines in the past two years," the PCB added.

"Keeping in mind workload management, this decision is to ensure Pakistan's main bowlers remain at the top of their game. The board does not want the national men’s team to run into an injury crisis concerning bowling resources as seen before the ICC T20 World Cup 2022, where Shaheen had to be closely looked after and ICC ODI Cricket World Cup 2023, where the team didn’t have the services of Naseem Shah.

With the Black Caps reaching Islamabad on Sunday, the Green Shirts team has also assembled in the federal capital after the Eid-ul-Fitr holidays.

Pakistan squad

Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saim Ayub, Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Irfan Khan Niazi, Usama Mir, Zaman Khan

Reserves: Haseebullah, Mohammad Ali, Agha Salman, Sahibzada Farhan, Mohammad Wasim Jr.

New Zealand squad

Michael Bracewell (c), Finn Allen, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert (WK), Ish Sodhi.