Former Pakistan pace bowler Aaqib Javed has claimed that Team India would be immensely relieved at the prospect of not facing Shaheen Afridi in the 2022 Asia Cup. The left-arm seamer has been ruled out of the entirety of the tournament due to a knee injury, with Mohammad Husnain named as a replacement.
During the arch-rivals' previous meeting, the 22-year-old dismantled the Indian top order. Claiming the wickets of the famed Indian top three, Afridi was named Player of the Match as Pakistan recorded a memorable 10-wicket win at the 2021 T20 World Cup. Indian batters have continued to struggle against left-arm seamers, with the likes of Reece Topley and Obed McCoy probing their weaknesses recently.
Speaking about how Afridi's absence impacts the upcoming contest between the two neighboring nations, Javed said during an interaction with Geo:
“India are very relieved. What Amir did to them, what Shaheen did to them, that was their only threat. They will lose only when their top-order falls early. Because when Kohli arrives and the wickets have fallen early, him being out-of-form and under pressure would make it quite difficult for him.”
Mohammad Amir has also proven to be a tough customer to deal with for the Indian batters over the years. The fiery left-arm seamer troubled the Men in Blue during their encounters at the 2016 Asia Cup, 2016 T20 World Cup and most famously at the 2017 Champions Trophy Final.
Waqar Younis claimed earlier that Afridi's absence is a huge relief for Team India
Legendary Pakistan pacer Waqar Younis had also expressed earlier that Shaheen Afridi's absence comes as a huge relief for India ahead of the tournament. The young seamer sustained the injury during the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka. He was included in the squads for the ODI series against the Netherlands and the Asia Cup, hoping to recover in time.
When asked about Shaheen Afridi's absence from the tournament, Team India vice-captain KL Rahul said in a press-conference yesterday:
“If he would have played, it would have been a good experience for us. Unfortunately, he is injured.”
The Babar Azam-led side will take on India in their opening contest of the 2022 Asia Cup at the Dubai International Stadium on August 28 (Sunday).
How much of an impact will the rampant pacer's absence pose for Pakistan? Let us know what you think
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