ISLAMABAD: Left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi said on Wednesday he is “very excited” to be making a comeback to the cricket field for the upcoming Pakistan Super League (PSL) 8 after a knee injury in November last year ruled him out of action for a couple of months.
Afridi, who made his international debut for Pakistan in 2018, has gone on to become one of the most lethal fast bowlers in the world. The lanky pacer, who spearheads Pakistan’s pace battery in all three formats of the game, has the ability to bowl toe-crushing in-swingers at a fiery pace while at the same time, surprise batters with plenty of bounce and variety.
After missing an important white-ball series against England at home, Afridi returned to action in last year’s ICC T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia. However, a freak twist while taking a catch aggravated his injury further, ruling him out of action for a few more months.
According to a statement released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Afridi described the PSL, Pakistan’s professional T20 cricket league, as “one of the best” leagues in the world and an important event for him to make his comeback.
“I am very excited to be making my comeback here and look forward to all the challenges that it will throw at me,” Afridi said. “Thanks to the Almighty, I am doing well. I am ticking both the bowling workload and fitness requirement boxes.”
Afridi, who led Lahore Qalandars to their maiden PSL title last year, will hope to take the field when the defending champions take on Multan Sultans on February 13 in Multan when the tournament kicks off.
The bowler spoke of how he wanted to play in Pakistan’s home series against England and New Zealand but was unable to do so. “I was more distressed for missing the Tests, because I like Test cricket more. A bowler is measured on how he performs in Test cricket and I wanted to take wickets against England,” he added.
“There were times when I wanted to give up,” he said. “I was working on only one muscle and it was not improving. Often during the rehabilitation sessions, I used to say to myself ‘this is enough, I cannot do this anymore’.
Afridi’s potency can be judged by the fact that he has taken the most wickets in the tournament since his debut. He is third on the list of the highest wicket-takers in the tournament history behind Wahab Riaz (103) and Hassan Ali (81) who have played 27 and 14 more matches than him.
While he missed several important fixtures at home, Afridi aims to make his return to international cricket at an important time. The third ICC World Test Championship cycle and 50-over Asia Cup and World Cup would both be played this year.