Pakistan’s pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi on Tuesday said he was “super excited” at rejoining the national cricket squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Australia 2022.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced the development in a press release issued today, saying that Afridi will rejoin the squad in Brisbane as per schedule on Saturday after undergoing his rehabilitation programme under the supervision of the PCB Medical Advisory Committee.
The PCB added he was now available for selection for the October 17 and 19 October warm-up matches against England and Afghanistan during which his match fitness will be assessed by the team management.
Shaheen was ruled out of the recent T20 Asia Cup and the T20 home series against England as the medical panel had advised the bowler four to six weeks rest due to a right knee ligament injury he suffered during the Test series in Sri Lanka in July.
“I am super excited at the prospect of rejoining the national side for the T20 World Cup and playing my part in the campaign. It has been a difficult period for me to be away from the game and the team I love the most, and not be part of some gruelling and exciting matches,” Afridi was quoted as saying in the press release.
He said that he was bowling six to eight overs “trouble-free” for the past 10 days with full run-up and pace. “While I have enjoyed bowling and batting in the nets, nothing can replace the feel of a match environment and I can’t wait to be in that setting,” he added.
He said it had been a rigorous and challenging rehabilitation programme for him but he had “thoroughly enjoyed” it.
“To be honest, I am feeling fitter than ever before and can’t wait to wear the playing kit.”
Fakhar Zaman to travel to Brisbane as well
Afridi thanked the PCB Medical Advisory Committee and football club Crystal Palace FC for allowing him to use their “outstanding facilities” and for “looking after me so well during the rehabilitation programme”.
Meanwhile, the PCB said that travelling reserve Fakhar Zaman will also head to Brisbane with Afridi and National High Performance Centre coach Umar Rashid.
It added that Zaman will complete his rehabilitation under PCB’s Chief Medical Officer and team doctor Dr Najeebullah Soomro’s supervision, following which the decision on his participation, if required, will be made.
On Friday, PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja had said Afridi was recovering from his ligament injury, underlining that the player was hopeful of his availability in the high-profile World Cup match against India on Oct 23.