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T20 World Cup 2022: “He is clearly not fully fit”



Pakistan v Netherlands - ICC Men


Former India striker Mohammad Kaif believes Pakistan are playing a huge gamble by playing an unfit and undercooked Shaheen Afridi in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2022. The left-arm tailor won the race against time to feature in the tournament but was far from his best in terms of intensity and impact.

The young fashion designer was sidelined for a long time following a knee injury while touring Sri Lanka in July 2021. He underwent treatment and rehabilitation in England, missing out on the 2022 Asian Cup.

Since returning to the Pakistani setup, he has struggled to reach his usual speed. Afridi resorted to bowling in the mid-130s and is often seen with slight discomfort at times. He has won just one wicket in three matches so far as Pakistan face an uphill battle to qualify for knockouts.

Stating that Pakistan is highly dependent on Afridi and his early return is not helping anyone, Kaif said in an exclusive interaction with Sportskeeda:

“Pakistan’s mistake was that Shaheen Afridi’s performance has a huge impact and he is clearly not in top form. He is playing after three months after a big injury in a big tournament. It often happens that your mind tells you you’re fine, but body doesn’t agree with you.”

Players like Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah and Mohammad Wasim Jnr have done a commendable job in the tournament as Afridi continues to find his groove after a long absence.

“Pakistan’s stick has never been his strength” – Mohammad Kaif

Babar Azam and Co. have had a nightmarish tournament so far in Australia. After losing their opening game against India, things got worse after a hugely demoralizing loss to Zimbabwe.

The team bounced back to claim their first T20I victory on Australian soil by beating the Netherlands, but it may be too little too late for the Men in Green at this point.

Believing that the Pakistani batting unit let them down like in the past, Kaif said:

“Pakistan’s batting has never been their strength, it’s always been their bowling game. Their plan has always been to score around 150-160 and defend the score. These are the mistakes Pakistan have made until ‘now.”

Adding that the loss to India at the start of the tournament may also have played a role in Pakistan’s ongoing struggles, Kaif added:

“Babar Azam’s form was also a factor but in my opinion when you lose the first game against India there is too much pressure because there are constant discussions about the result.”

Pakistan are then set to take on the unbeaten South African side on Thursday November 3 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

Did Pakistan err in putting Shaheen Afridi back in the game? Tell us what you think.

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