Afridi hints at return of senior players to cricket team

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Shahid Afridi, newly appointed interim chair of the men’s national team selection committee, on Sunday hinted at the possibility of senior players returning to the Pakistan men’s cricket team.

Afridi was appointed as the interim head of the men’s national selection committee for the home series against New Zealand by the Pakistan Cricket Board Management Committee led by Najam Sethi on Saturday.

In his first decision in his new role, Afridi had added three players to the team a day before, includ-ing pacers Mir Hamza and Shahnawaz Dahani and off-spinner Sajid Khan.

During his first media talk in Karachi upon as-suming his new office, the selection committee head was questioned about any changes to the batting lineup such as bringing back Sarfaraz Ahmed to which he said: “Babar Azam said something a few days ago that the ‘workload should be shifted’ which is very good. There are many players who have been continuously playing all three formats and it sometimes becomes difficult.”

Afridi said the bench should be so strong that any player’s missing presence is not felt by or im-pacts the team’s performance. “We have such players who are seniors who have been relegated outside [the team] for many days,” he said.

About his decision to add the three players, Af-ridi termed it a “very good decision” of the selection committee to induct two more fastbowlers, adding that he found out that teenage pace sensation Naseem Shah was still not fully fit.

“That decision of ours was good. Our bowlers who we have been carrying [idly] for many years such as Dahani, when will we let him play and give him a chance and make him a bowler?

“And then there is Mir Hamza because we don’t have Shaheen Shah Afridi so we have a need for a fastbowler and I think that boy deserves it and has given good performances,” Afridi said.

He added that the national selection committee would have a meeting soon with skipper Babar Azam about the final lineup of the team. “This selection committee has come here to make Azam as good a captain as good a world-class batter he is,” Afridi added.—APP