Afridi rested for PAK’s 3rd Test vs AUS hours after Masood’s ‘main guy’ comment | Cricket

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Pakistan are looking to avoid a sixth consecutive Test match defeat to Australia when they take the field at the Sydney Cricket Ground for the New Year’s Test. However, they will be without vice-captain and pace spearhead Shaheen Afridi, who has been rested for the game.

Shaheen Afridi has bowled nearly 100 overs across the two Tests. (AP)
Shaheen Afridi has bowled nearly 100 overs across the two Tests. (AP)

Afridi has shouldered greater responsibility in the first two Tests in the absence of frontline pacer Naseem Shah and has bowled nearly 100 overs, far more than any other player in both sides. Pakistan captain Shan Masood hailed him as a key player but also emphasised on the need to manage his workload, alongwith those of other players in the team who play in all formats of the game.

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“We have never had any doubts with Shaheen. He has bowled the most overs in world cricket in recent times. He is playing every game and giving his 150 percent. Even in training you will never see Shaheen shying away from that. He will bowl all the overs. He will be running after balls and a lot of the boys will be shouting at him to go easy and not hurt himself because we have seen him do that in the past,” Masood had told reporters.

“Shaheen is our main guy. What he did in Melbourne was great, he could have got a little luckier in terms of the wickets column which I thought did not match the quality of bowling he did there. He is very important for us and it is up to us that we look after him in the right way and that he is in the right space physically and mentally.”

There was a visible drop off in Afridi’s pace at the MCG during the second Test. He managed to take just one wicket in each innings of the first Test, which Pakistan lost by 360 runs. In the second, he took two wickets in the first innings and four in the second as Pakistan lost by 79 runs.

Pakistan have also dropped Imam-ul-Haq and debutant Saim Ayub is expected to take his place at the top of the order. Spinner Sajid Khan is also set to play his first game of the series after Abrar Ahmed’s injury.

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