Former Pakistani cricketers Shoaib Malik and Ramiz Raja have expressed concerns over Shaheen Shah Afridi’s below-par performance due to injury in the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2023.
“Shaheen has an injured finger and is bowling in pain,” former Pakistani skipper Ramiz Raja said while commentating during the Green Shirts’ match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, former all-rounder Malik — while speaking to a private sports channel — highlighted a fall in Shaheen’s pace ahead of the much-awaited match against India on Saturday.
“I think it is a big concern for the Pakistan cricket team since Shaheen’s ability to pick up wickets with the new ball, especially against big teams, is a major plus for Pakistan,” he said.
“Shaheen should take the initiative and sit with the physio and trainer and work on why he isn’t able to bowl at his average speed. I know he is coming back from an injury but it is concerning to see that he isn’t able to bowl at 140kph bearing in mind the fact that even the first ball of his spell used to be around 145kph. The pace he generated before the injury has reduced considerably.”
“There are important matches coming up for Pakistan like Australia, India and South Africa so the think tank must sit with him [Shaheen] and find a solution for this problem,” he added.
The comments come after the left-armer conceded 66 runs in nine overs while taking one wicket against Sri Lanka on Tuesday. In the first match of the event against the Netherlands, he bagged figures of 1-37 in seven overs.
It must be noted that Pakistan carried on to their impeccable form and registered a historic win against Sri Lanka in the eighth match of the ICC World Cup 2023.