Asia Cup 2022: Pakistan head coach backs pacers to make up for Shaheen Afridi’s absence

Tags: Asia Cup 2022, Pakistan, Saqlain Mushtaq

Published on: Aug 26, 2022

Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq has asserted that the team’s pace attack is good enough to deliver the goods in the Asia Cup 2022 even in the absence of lead bowler Shaheen Afridi. 22-year-old Afridi has been ruled out of the tournament, owing to an injury in his right knee ligament.

Mohammad Hasnain has been named as left-arm pacer Afridi’s replacement in Pakistan's 15-member squad for the Asia Cup 2022, which begins on August 27. Afridi has been advised four-six weeks rest by the medical team. Meanwhile, Pakistan will begin their campaign by taking on arch-rivals India in Dubai on August 28.

Speaking ahead of the tournament, Mushtaq backed the trio of Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain and Haris Rauf to come good in the Asia Cup. He commented, "Since last few years, these three have been executing the plans and demands of the Pakistan team really well. The captain, me as a head coach and the entire support staff has confidence in their abilities. Shaheen used to lead the attack, but these three also on a given day or situation can change the game.”

The former spinner added that coaches from the high-performance centre will be traveling with the team. Explaining the logic behind it, he said, "The coaches at the high-performance centre will go up with the main side and see how things are done. So when they return to the high-performance centre, these coaches will be able to work on lines of that philosophy.”

The 45-year-old also downplayed concerns regarding hot weather conditions in UAE, stating that professionals cannot think too much about all these things. He stated, "In professionalism, these things come and go. Sometimes you play during day, sometimes at night. Sometimes it is white-ball cricket, sometimes it is a red ball. Sometimes it is the longer format, sometimes it is the shorter format. Oppositions keep changing. It is our requirement that we do not think about this, think about our plans, adapt and execute them quickly.”

India and Pakistan will be joined by Hong Kong on Group A of the Asia Cup 2022. Hong Kong made their way to the main event after topping the qualifying round. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are in the other group in the Asia Cup.

--By A Cricket Correspondent

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