Like India, Pakistan also lost its star player to injury ahead of the upcoming 2022 Asia Cup tournament in the UAE. Shaheen Afridi was banned from the entire tournament on Saturday due to a knee injury sustained during the test match against Sri Lanka. India had also previously lost Jasprit Bumrah to an injury. Following the big news for Pakistan, former fast bowler Aaqib Javed made a big statement comparing the situations and impact of these players on their respective teams.
Speaking to Paktv.tv, Javed echoed the words of Pakistani legend Waqar Younis, saying that Shaheen’s injury will be a huge relief to the Indian team due to his ability with a new ball. The World Cup winning pacer explained that with India having such a strong batting lineup, getting early wickets with the new ball will be key with Shaheen having shown in the 2021 T20 World Cup meeting, while Mohammed Amir had show in the 2017 Champions Trophy final.
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“It is a huge setback for Pakistan. Because the way he bowls, even in T20 cricket, batters remain in a dilemma whether to save themselves from an lbw or from bets thrown. So there is enormous pressure on the batters when Shaheen bowls. You have to be good with the new ball, especially against India, given their mid-range batting lineup, it will be difficult for Pakistan. The last two times Pakistan beat India – in the Champions Trophy (2017 final) and the last World Cup (2021 T20 WC), the pattern was similar – the left-arm pacer sets the early pressure. So India will be very relieved. Nobody wants to face Shaheen with the new ball,” he said.
The veteran cricketer then weighed in on the situation, comparing a Bumrah-less India and Shaheen-less Pakistan, saying the latter depends much more on the fast bowler than Bumrah’s India, despite the party’s bowling attack looking weak.
“With Bumrah, no Indian bowling attack has gone weak. There is also no Shami. But Shaheen’s role in the bowling attack in Pakistan shows that the team is more dependent on him than India is on Bumrah,” he said.