Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq said that losing Shaheen Shah Afridi for the upcoming Asia Cup is a big setback for the team.
The former Pakistan cricketer added that the team is backing Naseen Shah to perform big in the Asia Cup. He heaped praise for the youngster’s performance in the recent series against the Netherlands.
“Obviously, losing Shaheen is a big setback to us before the tournament and for the England series because he is someone who has proven himself at the top level and done well against the best batsmen,” Saqlain said.
Saqlain also mentioned that the team’s current resource is good and they are certain to deliver.
“It is never easy to replace a player like Shaheen because of his quality but the resources we have are good and we are backing them to deliver for us”.
Adding more about Naseen Shah, Saqlain said that he sees a star in the young fast bowler.
“I see as a star in the making”
“Naseem, I see as a star in the making because of the control, aggression, attitude and execution he has displayed in his bowling. He has been very impressive for us.” Saqlain said Naseem, who is yet to make his T20 debut, had helped Pakistan win the last match by nine runs.
“He (Naseem) changed the course of the match and the other bowlers supported him well. His (Afridi’s) injury is unfortunate but we are hoping he recovers soon as we have important cricket coming up,” he concluded.
Pakistan have opted for Mohammad Hasnain as a replacement for Afridi for the Asia Cup. Though Hasnain is inexperienced, Saqlain is confident that the team has plenty of confidence to pull things off.
“We are covered in all bases and though the fast bowlers are not that experienced they have plenty of confidence and spirit.”
Asked about criticism over team selection issues, Saqlain said: “Performance is something which can happen or not happen but we look at the attitude, hard work in the nets, mental approach and a player’s work ethics before deciding to play him.”