Srinagar: It will be after a full one year that Pakistan premier pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi will be playing Test cricket for Pakistan after having injured his knee in the first of the two Tests at Galle last year.
“I am very excited to be making my Test comeback in the country where I was injured,” Shaheen told PCB Digital in Hambantota. “Injuries are part of an athlete’s life, but it is good to be back. I enjoy red-ball cricket a lot, and I am one wicket away from a century of Test wickets, which would be a big achievement for me.”
“It takes time to get used to red-ball cricket after playing white-ball,” he said, adding: “But the Karachi camp proved beneficial for me. Test cricket demands patience and you have to work in partnerships with fellow bowlers. Over the last year, I have played more white-ball matches, but when I was playing in the United Kingdom, I bowled extra overs after matches – even with the red ball – to meet the desired workload”.
“It seems like yesterday when I was injured. I will be making my Test return at the same ground where I was injured. I was talking to our physiotherapist about it. It is a matter of pride to represent Pakistan in any format, and I enjoy playing for Pakistan. I hope we will have a good beginning to this cycle of the World Test Championship, and we will qualify for the final, something we have missed in the last two iterations.”
Shaheen is just one wicket away from his special 100th Test wicket. He will become 11th Pakistan pacer to achieve milestone.
“There is a lot of excitement [for that 100th wicket].”
“I was only one wicket away, and the new ball was about to be available,” he said while recalling the first Test against Galle 12 months ago. “I was planning to utilize the new ball to reach that milestone, but I got injured before we got the new ball. So, I have had to wait a lot. It is very tough to be away from cricket, but time has helped me learn a lot, which will help me perform well for Pakistan across formats.”
His 99 wickets have come in just 25 matches at an average of 24.86. He also has four five-wicket hauls and one 10-for in the match.
About his batting Shaheen said, “I am a bowler first”. “But, whenever I will get a chance to make an impact with the bat for my country, I would do so.”