Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi who is recovering from the COVID-19 for which he tested positive early this week has said that the tour of England will test the mettle of star-studded Pakistan coaching staff.
Pakistan have announced an extended 29-man squad for the tour of England where Pakistan will play three Tests and an equal number of T20 Internationals during July-August.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) roped in former captain Younis Khan as batting coach and legendary leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed as spin bowling coach for the tour of England.
As the news about Afridi testing positive got public, rumours surrounding his deteriorating health also got viral. However Afridi himself had to come out and issued live video on Facebook putting all the rumours to rest.
“May God protect others from the wrath of social media (Allah sub ko social media say bachai),” Afridi told The News in a telephonic conversation.
“I don’t know how such rumours spread. I’m getting hundreds of calls and messages from concerned well-wishers from all over the world. To all of them my message is that I’m recovering from Covid-19 and am already looking forward to returning to my social work,” he said.
About Pakistan tour of England and how he expects team to perform during the trip, he said, “For Pakistan, every tour of England is very important. Even though the focus these days is on coronavirus, once the series against England will begin, it will become a talking point”.
“So I must say that even in current circumstances the tour carries a lot of importance for the Pakistan team,” he stressed.
About inclusion of former cricketers Younis Khan and Mushtaq Ahmed in Misbah ul Haq lead coaching staff, he said “It’s a good decision. I mean both Younis Khan and Mushy bhai (Mushtaq) are legendary players. Both of them have excellent records in England”.
However, Afridi said that the real worth of Pakistan’s big 15-man squad of officials spearheaded by head coach Misbah-ul-Haq will be seen if the team finds the going tough against England.
“It’s easy to coach a team that’s winning but the real mettle of the coaches is seen once their players are unable to give their best. So we have to see how our coaches perform under pressure. Personally I believe they would do well.”