Saqlain Mushtaq has stated that losing Shaheen Afridi ahead of the Asia Cup is a huge setback for the team as they will take on India on August 28 in their opening game. Afridi sustained a knee injury and needed some more time to recover which restricted him from playing in the tournament.
Pakistan will face India in their first game of the Asia Cup but the journey is going to be difficult for the team in the absence of their key pacer. Shaheen Afridi was ruled out a few days ago from Asia Cup as he sustained a knee injury. The left arm pacer needed some more time to recover from injury and so it canceled out chances of his participation in the tournament. Shaheen’s role in the team would have been crucial as he provides breakthroughs with the new ball.
Reflecting on the development, Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq admitted that it is a big setback for the team.
"Obviously, losing Shaheen is a big setback to us before the tournament and for the England series because he is someone who has proven himself at the top level and done well against the best batsmen," Saqlain said, quoted by NDTV.
"It is never easy to replace a player like Shaheen because of his quality but the resources we have are good and we are backing them to deliver for us.”
Mohammad Hasnain has been named the replacement for Shaheen and he has 17 T20I wickets to his name so far. The pacer will have extra speed to his aid and he might trouble batters with it. Naseem Shah will also play an important role in Pakistan’s bowling attack and has taken 10 wickets from just three ODIs. Shahanawaz Dahani is another talented pacer who will be a part of Pakistan for Asia Cup.
Saqlain stated that the bowlers will give have the confidence and spirit to succeed against top-notch sides.
"We are covered in all bases and though the fast bowlers are not that experienced they have plenty of confidence and spirit. Performance is something which can happen or not happen but we look at the attitude, hard work in the nets, mental approach, and a player's work ethics before deciding to play him,” he explained.