Shaheen Afridi has been a key player for the Men in Green with his proficiency across all the formats. In particular, he has scalped 99 wickets in 25 Test matches at an average of 24.86, with four five-wicket hauls.
Unfortunately, Shaheen Afridi is struggling with injury concerns in the last few months. He sustained a knee ligament injury during a fielding attempt against Sri Lanka in July. The 22-year-old missed the Asia Cup and then went to England for rehabilitation.
The talented speedster, Shaheen Afridi emerged as the joint-highest wicket-taker for Pakistan with 11 wickets at an economy of 6.15 in T20 World Cup 2022. However, Shaheen Afridi hurt his knee while taking a catch in T20 WC final, and has been ruled out of action for next few months. As a result, Haris Rauf has received national red-ball call-up.
Although Haris Rauf has been a bright performer in the white-ball format with pace and accuracy, he is yet to prove himself in the red-ball format. With only eight first-class appearances, it will be difficult for Rauf to match up with Shaheen Afridi’s performance.
“I will perform to the best of my ability”: Haris Rauf
Haris Rauf believes Shaheen Afridi’s absence will surely be felt in the series but seemed confident of other bowlers displaying strong showing. The 29-year-old further reckoned that he is making sure to catch up with red-ball cricket, which is completely different from limited-overs format.
“Shaheen’s absence will hurt Pakistan’s bowling attack. However, the rest of the bowlers are also confident ahead of the series. I will perform to the best of my ability if I make my debut in the first Test
The right-arm pacer added that they would look to contain the English batters, who look to play aggressive cricket. With their novel ‘Bazball’ approach, England has managed to win seven out of their last eight Test matches.
Apart from Haris Rauf, Pakistan has Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah and Faheem Ashraf as their key pacers. In the spin department, Zahid Mahmood and Nauman Ali and Mohammad Nawaz are the spin options.
It will be a comparatively inexperienced Pakistan bowling attack in the absence of Shaheen Afridi. The Babar Azam-led side will certainly have to be innovative with their approach to bagging crucial WTC points.