The 2022 T20 World Cup kicks off on 16th October 2022 in Australia. Many participating teams have already reached Australia to acclimatize to the conditions and the pitches. Teams like England, India, the West Indies, Sri Lanka, etc. are currently playing practice matches in Australia for better preparations.
In addition, New Zealand, the immediate neighbor of Australia, is hosting Pakistan and Bangladesh for a T20I tri-series. Subsequently, teams like India and Pakistan are missing their reliable speedsters Jasprit Bumrah and Shaheen Shah Afridi respectively. India’s ace pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah has been ruled out of the T20 World Cup 2022 after suffering a back injury.
A Huge Boost for Pakistan in the T20 World Cup 2022
Meanwhile, Pakistan has received two massive boosts ahead of the T20 World Cup 2022. Their star pace bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi has completed his rehab from a knee injury. And is set to join the Pakistan squad in Brisbane on October 15. Attacking batsman Fakhar Zaman too has recovered from his knee injury and is now available for selection.
Pakistan, however, was dearly missing the services of Shaheen Afridi, in particular. He was instrumental in their success in the T20 World Cup 2021. Pakistan fans will always cherish Shaheen Afridi’s special bowling spell against India on the opening day of that tournament.
With his return, Pakistan can now boast of having one of the strongest bowling lineups. His new ball bowling partners Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah are bowling well too. The fast-bowling trio of Shaheen-Rauf-Naseem will look to destroy the batting lineups with the new ball in hand.
In addition, Pakistan will play two warm-up matches on October 17. And also on October 19 against England and Afghanistan respectively. Their T20 World Cup 2022 campaign starts on 23rd October 2022 against arch-rivals India.
Pakistan Squad for the T20 World Cup 2022
Even though they suffered huge batting collapses. Pakistan has picked the same Asia Cup 2022 squad for the T20 World Cup 2022. Many cricket experts, including the senior cricketers, wanted to include senior batsman Shoaib Malik in the middle order. But the Pakistan team management stuck to their plans. And went with the same team.
They have however included the man in form, Shaan Masood in their squad. But he has been inconsistent too. In addition, their T20I series loss against England at their home could prove to be a massive dent in their T20 World Cup 2022 preparations.
But with Shaheen Afridi back. The team will look to bounce back from their series defeat against England and field their strongest XI in their first T20 World Cup 2022 match against India.
Pakistan Team for T20 World Cup 2022: Babar Azam ©, Shadab Khan (VC), Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmad, Khushdil Shah, Haider Ali, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah, Usman Qadir, and Mohammad Wasim Jr.
Present Form and Stats of Shaheen Afridi
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see the bowling form of Shaheen Afridi once he returns to action. He has not played any competitive games in the past two months. In addition, his recovery time was prolonged after a slight confusion between the Pakistan Cricket Board and Shaheen Afridi’s representatives.
Both parties were engaged in a prolonged discussion as to where he will be undergoing the knee surgery.
However, his T20 International stats are remarkable. In 40 T20I matches that Shaheen Afridi has played. He has picked up 47 wickets at a decent bowling average of 24.31. His economy rate is 7.75 at a strike rate of 18.80.
Why does Pakistan need a Fully Fit Shaheen Afridi?
Currently, Pakistan has several bowlers who can bowl at an express pace. But, only a few of them can hit the right line and lengths regularly at top speed. Along with Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi is one such bowler who can bowl fast and regularly hit the correct line and length.
The Pakistan team is already suffering from an unstable middle order. Barring the openers, the middle order of the Pakistan team has not been among the runs. They have tried different players in the middle order, but all of them have failed to perform consistently.
Pakistani pace bowlers, therefore, need to stay at the top of their game. In doing so, they increase their team’s chances of winning games by limiting their opponents to low totals.
In addition, Shaheen Afridi can be deadly with the new ball as well. He is someone who can swing the new ball both ways. Thus, he can pick up early wickets. And restrict the opponents to a low score.