Shoaib Malik raises suspicion on Shaheen's return to fitnes after wicketless show vs India
Pakistan veteran Shoaib Malik raised questions over Shaheen Shah Afridi's fitness after the Men in Green lost to India on Sunday, October 23 in the T20 World Cup 2022 Super 12 match against Rohit Sharma's at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
On his return to international cricket following his injury layoff, Afridi finished with figures of 4-0-34-0. Although he played a handy cameo of 16 off eight balls, the left-armer wasn't quite there with his left-arm pace.
While the likes of Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf made early inroads into the Indian batting lineup. Shaheen didn't quite look at his very best. The speedster bowled in the powerplay and bowled at speeds in the low and mid-130s, something that didn't quite please Malik.
Malik was of the opinion that when Shaheen hurs thunderbolts in the 145 km/h mark, it's tough for batters to counter him. The veteran, who isn't a part of the national squad, clearly said that there's somethng wrong with Shaheen's fitness.
“When he is fit, he bowls 145 kmph. Dealing with a 145kmph inswinger is difficult for the batsmen. But today’s speeds were like 133, 134 kmph. It’s either as Wasim Akram said it’s due to lack of match practice or he isn’t fully fit,” Malik was quoted as saying.
Shaheen returned to the highest level after three months following his knee injury that he sustained in July during Pakistan's opening Test against Sri Lanka in Galle. Thereafter, he missed a number of series, including the Asia Cup 2022 in the United Arab Emirtates (UAE).
Shaheen played the warm-up match against Mohammad Nabi's Afghanistan where he hit Rahmanullah Gurbaz right on the toe with a deadly yorker. The delivery was vicious to the extent that the batter was unable to walk and had to be carried off the park.
Pakistan, in the meantime, will be looking to make a comeback when they face Craig Ervine's Zimbabwe in their next Super 12 match on October 27. Last year, they won five matches in a row in the Super 12 before losing to Australia in the semis.