The star Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi responded to criticism regarding his decision to rest during the third and final Test against Australia in Sydney. As Pakistan's main pace bowler, Afridi was given a break from the Sydney Test with the upcoming five-match T20I series against New Zealand in mind.
Afridi is set to lead Pakistan as their new T20I captain for the first time in the New Zealand tour starting from January 12. This choice faced significant disapproval from Pakistani cricket legends, including Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. Wasim explicitly mentioned that the decision was solely Shaheen's and not influenced by the team management.
In the course of the third Test, Shaheen was in a conversation with the host broadcasters for clarifying the situation. Afridi even emphasized that the choice to take a break was sanctioned by the team management. This confirmation came during an interview with the broadcasters at the lunch break on Day 1 in Sydney. Afridi clarified that he had played two matches, accumulating a significant number of overs. The decision to rest for the Test was a part of workload management and was jointly made by the medical team and team management.
In the opening Test in Perth, Afridi bowled 45.1 overs, securing two wickets. the star Pakistan bowler performance in the Boxing Day Test was more fruitful, with two wickets in the first innings and four in the second, though this required a substantial effort of bowling 54 overs. Furthermore, he took part in the practice match against the Australians during this period.
"I played two games, and a lot of overs to be honest. They're just managing my workload, the medical team and team management decided to take a rest for this (Test)," Afridi said in an interaction with host broadcasters at the time of Lunch on Day 1 in Sydney.
Afridi regrets dropped catches
Afridi expressed that he believed he could have taken more wickets on this tour if catches had not been dropped off his bowling. The left-hand bowler even remarked that he believed he could have taken more wickets, but unfortunately, catches win matches, and those opportunities on the field were missed most of the time. Afridi also noted that the tour had been good so far, and the last game played was quite impressive.
"The wicket looks okay so far, and in the matches that have been played here before, it has favoured the team batting first. They bowled in good areas this morning, and Saim Ayub our superstar, he is new, so these sorts of things happen. But, we will come back soon. It was a tough first session, but Shan and Rizwan are still at the crease and we are hopeful that they will put together a huge partnership," Afridi added.