ANI Photo | “We were surprised”: Shaheen Afridi opens up about low speeds in Test series against Australia

Pakistan T20I skipper and star pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi blamed his side’s underwhelming pace bowling during the recently concluded Test series against Australia on speed guns, saying that his side wondered if they would not go beyond a certain mark.
Pakistan registered a 3-0 loss to the Aussies in the Test series in Australia. A key highlight of the series was the lack of pace with which Pakistan was bowling.
Known to touch 145-150 kmph easily, Pakistani bowlers, including Shaheen, struggled to hit these speeds throughout the series. Shaheen secured eight wickets in two matches he played, including a four-wicket haul.
Ahead of the five-match T20I series against New Zealand starting on Friday, Shaheen said to the media, “To be honest, first of all, when we were bowling and looking at the board (side screen), we were surprised whether we were really bowling at that pace because our bodies are adapted to bowl faster. We could not find how we were not able to bowl over 132-33 kmph. We were surprised if it was pre-decided that the speed gun wouldn’t show more than that.”
Shaheen said that newcomers like Azam Khan, Aamer Jamal and Sahibzada Farhan will be given some game time ahead of the T20 World Cup, which will start on June 1 in the West Indies and the USA.
“Some young players are making a comeback like Azam Khan, Aamer Jamal and Sahibzada Farhan, and there are some new players like Haseebullah and Abbas Afridi. We are hoping to give them a chance in these five T20Is and upcoming T20I matches ahead of the World Cup,” said Shaheen.
The skipper also backed star batters Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan as the country’s best opening pair.
“Babar and Rizwan will always be the best opening pair for Pakistan. I think we have 17 matches before the World Cup, and we should try different combinations and try to figure out which player fits in which position and we will try to play them [in that position],” said Shaheen.
On missing out on the third Test against Australia in Sydney, Shaheen clarified that it was done to ensure workload management and he is completely fit. He also made it clear that Tests are his priority.
“I am completely fit so there are no problems with that. I had bowled a bit too much in the first two tests, and there was so much fatigue that the team management and the medical panel wanted to avoid any chance of an injury. Even if there was a chance of a series win and I was 50-50, I would have played because country comes first. My priority has always been Test cricket,” he said.
Pakistan Squad: Mohammad Rizwan (w), Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Saim Ayub, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Aamer Jamal, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Afridi (c), Haris Rauf, Zaman Khan, Usama Mir, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Abrar Ahmed, Sahibzada Farhan, Abbas Afridi, Haseebullah Khan
New Zealand Squad: Devon Conway, Finn Allen, Kane Williamson (c), Mark Chapman, Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell, Tim Seifert (w), Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Matt Henry, Adam Milne, Ben Sears. (ANI)

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