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Pakistan offer fitness update as Shaheen Afridi tipped to bounce back

Pakistan offer fitness update as Shaheen Afridi tipped to bounce back

Pakistan bowler Hasan Ali believes the team’s fitness issues are being addressed, and he has backed the unconventional Shaheen Afridi to make a significant impact on the tournament.

Pakistan were defeated by India after winning their first two games in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup against Sri Lanka and the Netherlands.

However, the performance of some key players, most notably strike bowler Shahid Afridi, has been a source of concern.

However, Hasan Ali, speaking to the assembled media on Thursday, claims that part of Afridi’s poor form can be attributed to illness, citing the 23-year-old as one of several Pakistan players who have been struggling for top health.

“No one has any control over their own health or injury.” “It’s just room sickness and the flu, and hopefully we’ll all be fine soon,” Hasan said, before encouraging his fellow bowler to recover.

“Shaheen has won many matches for us in Pakistan.” I know he’s not in shape right now, but he’ll be there soon. He is a champion who has given many outstanding performances for Pakistan.”

The impact of Afridi could be critical in breaking through Australia’s top order in Friday’s game, but Australian skipper Pat Cummins says he hasn’t been paying too much attention to the Pakistani pacer’s fortunes and fitness.

“To be honest, I haven’t been watching much lately, so I can’t really comment.” But he’s always a tough opponent. Up front, he’s always a threat. So, hopefully he’ll be quiet tomorrow.”

Although it is unclear whether Shaheen will be fully fit for Friday’s match, Hasan claims that the majority of the squad trained in Bengaluru ahead of the game, with only Fakhar Zaman ruled out.

“I think Fakhar is not there, he has some issue with his knee,” he said.

“There are 14 players still available.” The rest… I’m not the captain, so I can’t tell you anything else.”

Hasan is Pakistan’s leading wicket-taker in the tournament so far, with seven in three matches, but he wasn’t expected to be a guaranteed starter before Naseem Shah’s injury.

The 29-year-old has stepped in to bat in the middle overs for Pakistan and says he is excited to be a part of a bowling attack that could define the tournament.

“I believe (Naseem Shah) is the only change in the bowling attack.” “One person has changed as a result of an injury,” Hasan added.

“I was assigned to bowl the new ball and the middle overs, and as you can see, I took quite a few wickets in the middle overs.” That is the role I am playing.

“The bowler’s skill – like mine – my inswing, outswing, bouncer, whatever skill I have, I’ll try to use to take a wicket.” So far, wickets have fallen in the middle overs – as seen in previous matches, runs are scored early on but then the batting line-up collapses. This is what has been observed in the World Cup till now.”

And Cummins agrees that who controls the middle overs in Bengaluru will be crucial.

“Most games of ODI cricket are won in those middle overs, either by not conceding wickets when you’re batting or trying to get a few breakthroughs with the ball,” he said.

“So, yeah, it’s an area of the game where we spend a lot of time figuring out how to navigate.” If you believe it is a good time to attack, go for it. But it’s also fine if you feel like you just need to bide your time and prepare for the back end.”

A win for either team would significantly improve their chances of reaching the World Cup knockout stages, but South Africa’s loss to the Netherlands earlier this week, combined with England’s defeat to Afghanistan, has leveled the playing field in the race for those semi-final spots.

“I mean, it’s good, I won’t lie,” Cummins said after his team lost its first two games in India. “I think it just evens out all the teams.” They (Netherlands) performed admirably; we’ll have them after this game.

“I believe what we’re seeing in this tournament is ten really strong teams.” It’s not just one side making up numbers. They’ve all qualified, and they’ve all earned their place here. So, there are no easy games. Everything is pretty intense.”

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