Shaheen Afridi has suffered a major setback as his rehabilitation timeline has extended further causing him to miss the upcoming Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates. The pacer's knee injury is expected to heal only by October meaning he will still be in line to participate at the World T20.
Pakistan has received a big blow just a week ahead of the Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates, with their premier pacer Shaheen Afridi confirmed to miss the tournament owing to a knee injury. The 22-year-old had damaged the ligament in his right knee in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle last month and has since been confined to the physio's room.
Initially, he was expected to play in the ongoing ODI series against the Netherlands and was included in the squad with the same expectation. However, the latest assessments have shown the knee is yet to heal, meaning Afridi will have to miss out on the continental tournament taking place in the middle-east. Moreover, he will also sit out the landmark seven-match T20I series against England next month but is still on course to make it for the tri-series against New Zealand and Bangladesh in the first half of October. These matches will serve as a great tool to regain match-fit for the left-arm fast, with his World T20 campaign scheduled to get away Down Under with a fixture against India on October 23.
"I have spoken with Shaheen and he is understandably upset with the news, but he is brave young man who has vowed to come back strongly to serve his country and team. Although he has made progress during his rehabilitation in Rotterdam, it is now clear he will require more time and is likely to return to competitive cricket in October," a source from PCB was quoted saying by ESPN Cricinfo.
The fast bowler has emerged as Pakistan's key weapon in international games and has already earned 97 caps at such a young age, scalping 208 wickets. He will be missed sorely by the Men in Green especially when they take on India in the Asia Cup opener on August 27, given Afridi had produced a man of the match performance with three wickets the last time the two had met at the ICC World T20 2021.