Asia Cup 2022: Losing Shaheen Afridi is a big setback, says Saqlain Mushtaq
Asia Cup 2022: Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq stated on Monday that losing Shaheen Shah Afridi to injury for the upcoming Asia Cup is a “huge setback,” but he still had faith in his bowling attack to perform admirably in the continental competition.
Nassem Shah, a right-arm bowler who starred during the three-match ODI series against the Netherlands in Rotterdam, received Saqlain’s support for his performance in the Asia Cup.
“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.
“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.
“Naseem, I see as a star in the making because of the control, aggression, attitude. And also execution he has displayed in his bowling. He has been very impressive for us.” Saqlain said Naseem, who is yet to make his T20I debut, had helped Pakistan win the last match by nine runs.
“He (Naseem) changed the course of the match and the other bowlers supported him well.
“His (Afridi’s) injury is unfortunate but we are hoping he recovers soon as we have important cricket coming up.”
Afridi will replaced for the Asia Cup in the UAE by rookie fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain, according to Pakistani selectors on Monday.
Former Test off-spinner Saqlain claimed that generally, Pakistan had a strong bowling arsenal that could compete with any team.
“We covered in all bases. And though the fast bowlers are not that experienced but they have plenty of confidence and spirit.”
Asked about criticism over team selection issues, Saqlain said:
“Performance is something which can happen or not happen but we look at the attitude. Also hard work in the nets, mental approach and a player’s work ethics before deciding to play him.”