Pakistan captain Babar Azam has stated that the team has always produced good fast bowlers and the same holds true for their T20 World Cup 2022 squad. The birthday boy asserted that Shaheen Afridi’s comeback from injury will only make the team stronger.
Afridi hasn’t played a match for Pakistan since picking up a knee injury during the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle in July. He will play two warm-up matches ahead of the T20 World Cup, during which his fitness will be assessed.
Pakistan will kick off their T20 World Cup 2022 campaign by taking on India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on October 23. At a press conference organized by the ICC on Saturday October 15, Babar was asked about Pakistan’s fast bowling resources. He responded:
“Pakistan have always had a good bunch of fast bowlers. We have a good lot of fast bowlers this time as well and Shaheen’s comeback makes it stronger. We have good bench strength as well. We have played some different combinations in recent matches and they have all performed.”
“Haris (Rauf) has improved at the death and with the new ball. It’s our opportunity to show skills with different combination of players.”
Haris Rauf has stepped up in Afridi’s absence and has done a great job for Pakistan with the ball. He claimed six wickets in three matches at an average of 14.67 during the tri-series in New Zealand.
“We are looking forward to seeing him play” – Babar Azam confirms that Afridi is fully fit
While Afridi has been cleared to fly to Australia, there are still concerns over his fitness since he hasn’t played international cricket lately.
Babar, however, claimed that the left-arm seamer is fit and raring to go. He said:
“Definitely, Shaheen and Fakhar have come back. We have six days before the first match. We will also utilize the two warm-up matches. Shaheen is fully fit and is dedicated to give his 100 percent. So we are looking forward to seeing him play.”
While Pakistan’s middle order has been a major concern, Babar asserted that their performance in the recently concluded tri-series in New Zealand will give them a lot of confidence. He stated:
“We had a good series in New Zealand. The middle-order stepped in the last two games. You get confidence due to such performances just ahead of the World Cup. I have full belief that the middle-order will perform. We are backing them.”
Pakistan beat New Zealand by five wickets in the final in Christchurch on Friday , October 14. Chasing 164, Mohammad Nawaz scored an unbeaten 38 off 22, while Haider Ali (31 off 15) and Iftikhar Ahmed (25* off 14) also made crucial contributions.